12 He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your kinsmen or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return, and you be repaid. 13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”
Meditation: Who do you honor at your table? The Lord is always ready to receive us at his table. As far as we can tell from the gospel accounts, Jesus never refused a dinner invitation! Why, in this particular instance, does Jesus lecture his host on who he should or shouldn’t invite to dinner? Did his host expect some favor or reward from Jesus? Did he want to impress his neighbors with the honor of hosting the “miracle worker” from Galilee?
Jesus probes our hearts as well. Do you only show favor and generosity to those who will repay you in kind? What about those who do not have the means to repay you – the poor, the sick, and the disadvantaged? Generosity demands a measure of self-sacrifice. It doesn’t impoverish, but rather enriches the soul of the giver. True generosity springs from a heart full of mercy and compassion. God loved us first, and our love is a response of gratitude to his great mercy and kindness towards us. We cannot outgive God in his generosity towards us. Do you give freely as Jesus gives without expectation for personal gain or reward?
“Lord Jesus, fill me with gratitude for your unboundless love and mercy towards me. And purify my love for others that I may seek their good rather than my own benefit or gain. Free me to love others as you love.”
Psalm 69:16, 30-36
16 Answer me, O LORD, for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.
30 I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.
31 This will please the LORD more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs.
32 Let the oppressed see it and be glad; you who seek God, let your hearts revive.
33 For the LORD hears the needy, and does not despise his own that are in bonds.
34 Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and everything that moves therein.
35 For God will save Zion and rebuild the cities of Judah; and his servants shall dwell there and possess it;
36 the children of his servants shall inherit it, and those who love his name shall dwell in it.