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Sunday, August 29, 2010

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22nd Sunday Ordinary Time

Sirach 3:17-18, 20, 28-29
Hebrews 12:18-19, 22-24
Psalm 68:4-7, 10-11
Luke 14:1, 7-14

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"Whenever you give a lunch or dinner, do not invite your friends or brothers or relatives or wealthy neighbors." —Luke 14:12

When we host a special dinner we usually invite friends and family. Jesus says we're inviting the wrong people. We usually write a check to help the "less fortunate," especially at Christmas time. This is good, but Jesus calls us to something more. He commands us to "invite beggars and the crippled, the lame and the blind" (Lk 14:13). We are to seat, serve, and wait on them.

How many poor or crippled people have you had over lately? Did you get out your best china and tablecloth? Remember that whatever you do to the least of the brethren you do to Jesus (Mt 25:40). We wonder if Jesus' command should be taken literally.

Both Jesus and the early Church took it that way. Jesus ate with the poor and the outcasts. He even multiplied loaves and fish for them. The early Church raised up deacons to wait on tables (Acts 6:2ff). We have good reason to believe we are called to invite and serve the poor and handicapped in a personal, get-your-hands-dirty way. Only in this way can the gap between rich and poor can be bridged and the vicious cycle of poverty broken.

Prayer:  Jesus, I repent of eating by myself and not eating with the right people.

Promise:  "You have drawn near to Mount Zion...to myriads of angels in festal gathering, to the assembly of the first-born enrolled in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus." —Heb 12:22-24

Praise:  Praise You, risen and glorious Lord Jesus, "the Way, and the Truth, and the Life" (Jn 14:6). Alleluia!

Reference:  (To grow in your service to the poor and the outcasts, read the Bible daily. Order our tape series An Introduction to each Book of the Bible. It is 32 audio tapes starting with AV 21-1 or 17 video tapes starting with V-21.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 8, 2010

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