Luke 14:1, 7-14 (NRSV)
Chapter 14On one occasion when Jesus was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely.
Verse 7When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable. Verse 8"When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; Verse 9and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, 'Give this person your place,' and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. Verse 10But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, 'Friend, move up higher'; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. Verse 11For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." Verse 12He said also to the one who had invited him, "When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. Verse 13But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. Verse 14And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."
A family in one of the parishes that I served kept a World Hunger Bank on their table. Each week they selected one of their evening meals and placed the estimated cost of that meal in the bank. At the end of each month, the money was contributed to Lutheran World Relief and ELCA World Hunger. It was, and is, a very simple, yet profound, way to invite “the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind” to dine with them. It was, and is, a reminder of being blessed to be a blessing.
At a time when more and more of my neighbors say they have stopped watching the news because they cannot stand to see any more suffering, Jesus calls us to truly see that suffering. But, even more, we are called to see the person in that suffering and to know them as our neighbor through the eyes of Jesus.
Lord, make us instruments, tools, and examples of your love, grace, and peace that justice may abound. Amen.