Father Steven Reilly, LC
Luke 14: 12-14
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."
Introductory Prayer: Oh
God, thank you for allowing me to come into your
presence. Your love enlarges my soul. I long to
see your face! I come to this prayer with a
thirst to just be in your presence, to relax
under your loving gaze. May my presence here be
an expression of my love for you.
Lord, grant me the grace to put your interests
before my self-interest.
1. “You Scratch My Back…” “… And
I’ll scratch yours.” Unique is the individual who doesn’t
keep at least one eye on his own self-interest at
all times. For many, life is about leverage, and
good deeds are investments that will reap future profits.
In this parable, Jesus invites us to think outside that
human box and more in the divine one. God
derives no personal benefits through showing us immeasurable love.
We can’t, after all, give him anything that he doesn’t
already have. Maybe we should be expanding our list
of dinner invitations?
2. The Poor, the Crippled, the Lame,
the Blind: Blessed Mother Teresa lived this Gospel verse
in exemplary fashion. The story is told of a dying
man, found lying in the street and brought to
the Missionaries of Charity’s House of the Dying. They
gave him dignity that he had never known: “I have
lived like a dog all my life. But now
I will die like an angel.” Sometimes we also have
opportunities to help others in dire need. Sometimes, more
often, we can come to the aid of the
person who is spiritually poor or crippled. Perhaps it is
that person who is always in a foul mood,
or that other who once spread a rumor about me.
“Blessed will you be because of their inability to
3. Self-interest vs. Resurrection: Fr. Joe always used
to say this about his priesthood: “The pay is
lousy, but the retirement benefits are out of this world.”
Self-interest is about getting the positive payback here and
now. True love and charity do not keep a
score card to make sure that “it’s worth it.” No,
we are living for eternity. Let’s ask the Lord
to give us a better sense of the big picture,
to see that those unrequited good deeds are the
best ones. So you parents of the world, take
heart! Your sacrifices will indeed find their reward, “in the
resurrection of the righteous.”
Conversation with Christ:
Dear Lord, how often I am thinking, “What’s in it
for me?” Help me to reach out to others
beyond the limits of my group. Help me to see
that you are in every soul, not just the
ones that in some way gratify me.
will do an act of charity for someone who
doesn’t like me.