The banquet table of heaven

In last week’s Gospel reading, we were reminded that the world’s excluding violence is so widespread that the Gospel opening into the expansive, including love of God appears as a narrow crack.

In the face of such a radical reversal – a refusal of the reign of sin, death, and the devil – Jesus falls under heavy criticism by religious leaders. Like these leaders, we are often preoccupied in unhelpful ways with rules, respectability, and relationships that repay (What’s in it for me…).

Instead, in this week’s Gospel Jesus invites us to consider an entirely different notion of rules, relationships, and righteousness:

“When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Whom do we invite to sit at our tables, at committee meetings, parish events, our homes? What calculations of repayment do we make in our personal relationships, our parish life, our public policy and voting decisions?

Jesus has welcomed us – sinners saved by grace – to sit at the banquet table of heaven. (You see, there *is* something in it for us!) “God, in your goodness, you have made a home for the poor.” Thanks be to God! Now, let’s take a look at our guest list…

 

Peace and All Good,

Greg Walgenbach, Director, Office of Life, Justice & Peace