This material was first published by Redemptorist Publications
and is included here with their permission.
Free and For All
How does the leader of the Pharisees feel when Jesus says that he should invite “outsiders” to his banquets? Jesus has already addressed his guests about their behaviour in choosing seats of honour. Now he’s telling him his guest list should include poor, crippled, lame and blind people who can’t repay him with a return invitation. Surely Jesus has missed the point of these meals. Doesn’t he understand business and social networking? Doesn’t he know that potential deals, favourable marriages and property negotiations are often agreed at these gatherings? You don’t invite people who have nothing to offer in return.
Well, Jesus insists that we do just that and the writer of the letter to the Hebrews also reminds us not to neglect showing hospitality to strangers – they might, after all, be angels or even Jesus himself. For Jesus said that what we do for a stranger we do for him.
The letter to the Hebrews holds other challenges. We are to identify closely with prisoners and victims of torture, so closely that it’s as if we are suffering the same treatment. We’re to be content with what we have and trust God to provide for our needs.
This all sounds costly financially, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Our letter-writer knows this but encourages us “ … to do good and to share what (we) have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”
How will we respond?
Prayer : Lord Jesus, you gave everything for us but we have nothing to give you in return. Strengthen us, we pray, with the love and courage to follow your example of sacrificial generosity towards all people. Amen.