Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (José Antonio Pagola)

Ross Reyes DizonHomilies and reflections, Year CLeave a Comment

Author: .
Estimated Reading Time:

Without excluding

Jesus attends a banquet, invited by “one of the leading Pharisees” of the area.  It is a special Sabbath meal, prepared with great care and attention since the evening before.  As is customary, the guests are the host’s friends, Pharisees of great prestige, learned teachers of the law, models of religious life for the whole nation.

It appears that Jesus does not feel  at home.  He misses his friends, the poor.  These are the folks he meets begging by the roadside.  No one ever invites them.  They do not count, these persons who are excluded from fellowship, forgotten by the religious establishment, scorned by almost everybody.  They are the ones who usually sit at table with him.

Before taking leave, Jesus addresses his host.  It is not in order to thank him for the banquet, but rather to jolt his conscience and to invite him to a lifestyle that is less conventional and more human:  “Do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back ….  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.”

Once again, Jesus takes pains to humanize life, breaking, if necessary, the patterns and norms of behavior that seem very respectable to us but which, fundamentally, show our resistance to the building up of the world that God wants, a world where we can be more fully human and live as brothers and sisters.

Ordinarily, we live settled within a circle of familial, social, political or religious relationships that help us take care of our mutual interests, while leaving out those who cannot contribute anything to us.  We invite to our lives those who can invite us in return.  That is it.

Slaves to relationships based on vested interests, we are unaware that we maintain our comfort only by excluding those who are most in need of our free solidarity simply so that they may survive.  We have to heed Pope Francis’ evangelical cries on the small island of Lampedusa:  “The culture of comfort makes us insensitive to the cries of other people.”  We have fallen into globalized indifference.”  “We have lost a sense of responsibility.”

We followers of Jesus have to remember that to open new ways to the Kingdom of God does not consist in building a more religious society or in promoting a political system as an alternative to other possible systems, but rather, in generating, first of all, and developing relationships that are more human, and which will make possible for everybody, starting with the last and the least, such conditions as those that make for a dignified life.

José Antonio Pagola

September 1, 2013
22 Ordinary Time (C)
Luke 14, 1. 7-14

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *