“When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or sisters or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment.” Now there have been literally hundreds of opinions and commentaries written that attempt to unlock the mystery and meaning of the beautiful Gospel passage we have today. Some will try to make comments about the social eating practices, pseudoreligions and self-righteousness of the people of that time. Others will comment on the aspects of humility and generosity, while still others make direct application to feeding the poor and hungry and doing things for people who could never repay you. Trust me, each of these angles certainly have great merit. A humble person does not have to wear a mask or put on a facade in order to look good to others who do not know who he really is. A giving person is clearly happier than a stingy one. Hypocrisy is a real disease. Excellent point.
“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.” However, there is evidence of deeper meaning present which is suggested by the context of the Readings, namely, The Banquet. In the Scriptures, there are many mentions of meals and celebrations which clearly point to the Heavenly Banquet after we finish this life. Thus, spiritual disease down here translates to a quarantine for the eternal celebration; neglecting the poor and starving now means we become spiritually impoverished and famished for Heaven later, and collecting rewards and accolades from the audiences of this world powerfully suggests there’ll be no applause, added benefit or honor in the next world that never ends.
“The gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.” RSVP is an initialism derived from the French phrase répondez s’il vous plaît, meaning “please respond” to require confirmation of an invitation. Concerning our spiritual lives then, to which we are so desperately dedicated, especially as we eye with great expectation the soon-arriving Advent Season, we must respond to the invitation placed before us every single day. Everything happens for a reason and today is no exception. How will you respond? Take some time this week and address the meaning of God’s invitation to you to enter Heaven. He is waiting.
“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have.” Eckhart Tolle