Pod-Cast en Español
According to the Gospels…it appears that Jesus was invited out for lunch quite often.…mostly by Pharisees of importance—and mostly on the Sabbath. Surely, by now…Jesus is well aware…that the Pharisees are out to get him. They pick the Sabbath…and make sure that a sick person is present…knowing that Jesus…is not-going-to-pass-up-a-chance-to-heal-the-sick. And, that’s when they can charge him with breaking the law of Moses…it’s one of those <Gotcha> moments.
One wonders why Jesus keeps falling for the same plot. It’s like Charlie Brown excited to kick the football, only to have Lucy pick it up at the last moment. And, yet, Charlie Brown keeps falling for the trick. The difference is that Jesus knows the plot…and he keeps falling for it…because he never turned down an invitation from his enemies. He was intent…on giving them every possible chance--to have a change of heart. Meeting with them…and talking to them about the good news…was the only way they could eventually believe--what he had been telling them all along. Just because…they had not done so in the past…was no reason for him to give up on anybody-- demonstrating love instead of hate. One of the greatest mistakes a couple makes…is to choose to stop talking to each other…about a problem they have. Just because neither…has been willing to compromise in the past--doesn’t mean that one of them…or both…may not choose to compromise--the next time they talk about it. Those of us who are married, do ourselves a disservice…and we do our spouse a disservice…when we don’t even want to talk to each other…because we wrongly assume--we know how the other is going to react. This is what Jesus teaches us today. In spite of his past history with the Pharisees…he humbled himself…and agreed to break bread with them--to talk things over…every time they invited him.
There’s no greater teacher of humility and charity than Jesus. Time and time again…he demonstrates…that he is the greatest teacher that ever lived. He constantly used the surroundings he found himself in…to teach…a model that our teachers beginning a new school year…can emulate. He noted how people seat themselves at a banquet table, and found in it…a teaching moment: Don’t sit at the head of the table…he said…you might be embarrassed, if the host replaces you…with someone more important than you. Take the last seat instead…and you may be brought to the head of the table. You and I have been told: “No one is more important than you, and you aren’t more important than anyone else.” While that is true in the eyes of God, in the eyes of the world…and especially when it comes to inviting and seating at a banquet…the truth is…that importance…is in the eyes of the host…the person that invites us. And, that…is the example that Jesus uses--to teach us humility and charity. <How we love and hold in high esteem the humble person> Nobody likes a braggart…but we love a giving person. We love individuals that acknowledge…they don’t know everything…individuals that accept the fact, that in some areas…others-have-more-expertise-than-them. We love individuals who think of others…before themselves…like You mothers and fathers--that die to yourselves…for each other…and your family…like You children, that see what your parents go through for you…day in and day out…and you give them your obedience. It turns out that humility is actually…giving of ourselves. We are gracious to others…out of our humility.
We don’t invite someone to lunch…just because they’re going to buy us lunch in the future. We don’t give food and clothes to the poor…just out of a sense of duty. We don’t donate to charitable causes…because we want to show off. The Rabbis used to say, “the best kind of giving…was when the giver did not know to whom he was giving…and when the receiver did not know…from whom he was receiving.” Some people give because they simply love doing it. That’s the best reason for giving…there’s a certain humility in it. They give themselves wholeheartedly to their families…they give of their time, talents, and money to their church…they volunteer in worthwhile community service activities…each according to the gifts they have been given.
God gave Jesus, his only begotten Son…because he so loved the world—and so…should we. The Gospel message is clear: if we give to gain reward…we will receive no reward; but if we give…with no thought of reward…our reward is guaranteed!