Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees. He said to the host who invited him, “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.” (Luke 14: 12-14)
I love this passage from Luke! Because once again, Jesus challenges us to take another step forward in our growth as Christians in two ways. He does this, first, by warning us about having ulterior motives in relation to how we act towards one another. We must not seek reward for our actions towards others but always do what is best for them and treat them with the respect they deserve without expecting anything in return.
His words remind us that authentic generosity is marked by self-forgetfulness. The follower of Christ does not practice charity in order to be noticed. Just the opposite ought to be true. In Matthew 6:3-4 we read “When you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you” We must not seek reward for our actions towards others but always do what is best for them and treat them with the respect they deserve without expecting anything in return.
Second, His words urge us to open our hearts to those people in our lives who might not come immediately to mind as someone to get to know, to minister to, to love. Christ reminds us to welcome those people into our lives who might have a different faith, political viewpoint, or upbringing. Christ showed no discrimination in whom he loved and invited into his life, and we are called to follow his example.
Prayer of The Day
Jesus, how often my giving is tainted by self-interest and the hope of favors in return. You gave to me without hope of return. I can do you no favors, but you taught me that love means giving without expectations, that there is more happiness in giving than in receiving. Help me to grow in charity. Teach me to give generously with no thought of recompense or self-glory. Create in me a heart of selfless love.
’ If we want to reach a destination, the shortest path is a straight line. When we love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, we straighten our path. When we have other loves, competitive loves, loves that leave God out of our actions, love that craves recognition — those all make us lose momentum and wander in all sorts of directions, preventing us from getting closer to the Kingdom. Can we not unite everything in a single-hearted love for God? If we do, then every email, phone call, meal, sporting event, errand, business meeting, and class — absolutely everything — will take us to the Kingdom and not away from it.”