Sunday, September 1, 2019

+ 22nd Sunday C +

When St. Luke tells us what Jesus said or did at a meal, he is always pointing to the Eucharist, to how it shapes us as a Church of disciples.

From the moment Jesus arrives, he is being watched.  Some hope to find new meaning for their tedious, stressful lives. Others are looking for an excuse to blow him off or to get him in trouble.

Note the setup: No round table.  The great reversal in the world to come, of which this Holy Banquet is the foretaste, is not that there will be no seats of honor, no leaders, but that the last shall be first.

Leaders serve the rest and imitate the Host by being humble and welcoming, by paying attention to the guests. These are the people who will one day be called forward.

That is why an essential mark of a Catholic community is a unity in diversity into which all are welcomed. All of us have baggage.  All of us need to change.  But first all are welcome.

Those who build themselves up by tearing others down; those who  use people for their own ends betray Christ.

If I only welcome you because you have what I want, a deal I need, if I’ll say or do anything to get it, it’s seduction and not hospitality.

Humility approaches others simply as one human being to another, so that the other experiences acceptance without conditions.

Mind you, a good Jesuit always goes out of his way to welcome those we call the insignes, folks with the potential to put their minds, hearts, expertise, money—and even good looks—at the service of the greater good.

We’re supposed to inspire talented people to be generous, but must take care that the motive is their good and the good of the community.

Regardless of how we got here, all of us are strangers and guests. All of us have been invited into the Banquet Hall of life by the One Host.

When more people come, we have to set more places at the table and find ways to make them welcome.

We “prepare to celebrate these sacred mysteries” in as much as our lives become capable of welcoming others as companions, in as much as we come here to collaborate with the way God, in his infinite holiness, reaches out to every person.

None of us benefit from this meal unless the ungrateful, the unwanted, the unloved are invited to the table of our hearts, unless there is room in our lives for those who cannot repay in this world.

All of this begins in family life before it every gets to a church. All of this applies to every one of usall the more to those who would lead, in Church, in government, in business, and in professions.

Our Host loves us in our fear and ambivalence. He is compassionate as Our Father is compassionate.  He is among us to give himself into our hands, to nourish us with his life.

You and I are the ones who can never repay. You and I are the ones who are ungrateful most of the time.

May we come to this Holy Table completely forgetting about where we stand and rejoicing that we stand together in our common need.

Let us bring here only our hunger to be loved, forgiven, understood, healed—so that he can feed us, so that throughus, others will be fed.

Blessed those who are called to the Wedding Banquet of the Lamb!

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