August 28, 2022
Luke 14:1, 7-14
So often in the gospels the Pharisees are portrayed in a less than positive light. As some of the religious leaders of the day, they take their role seriously to figure out who this Jesus is. They follow him, observe his actions, listen to his words and try to determine if Jesus is really the long-awaited Messiah. Some try to stump him, to prove that he is not a true and upstanding Jew. But Jesus does not shy away from them. He takes every opportunity to tell his story, to preach the Kingdom, the Beloved Community.
In today’s gospel Jesus is invited to dine at the home of one of the Pharisees. There’s no mention of his disciples being with him so maybe he is on his own. We can assume that the others who are present are also Pharisees or at least family and friends of the host. So why has he been invited? At best, it is so these people can get to know Jesus better. And maybe that’s why they are all trying to get the best seats. They want to see and hear everything that Jesus will do during dinner. Jesus does not miss the opportunity to put them all in their rightful place though. He also challenges the host. Is Jesus really trying to show these guests that as leaders of the community, they are to lead by example? Jesus should have been able to rely on the scribes and Pharisees, the community leaders, to live according to the message he preached. Rather than spending their time trying to prove Jesus wrong, it would be better for them to care for the widow and orphan, to heal the blind and the lame, to challenge the unjust systems of their day.
How do we handle the tough questions of faith and justice? When challenged directly or when we see a wrong being done, do we have the courage to speak our truth? Or perhaps the question is, is our conviction deep enough, strong enough, to speak at all?
Luke 14:1, 7-14
One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched. When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable:
“When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this man your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
The Gospel of the Lord
Meet Sister Barbara Barry, SNDdeN