“…when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Luke 14:13-14

Thursday, 02 July 2020

Luke 14:12-24

I was struck a few days ago how Grade 11 students at Rondebosch Boys High unanimously decided to donate the money they had raised for their matric dance to help feed the poor. In a way, it made me think of this parable of Jesus in Luke’s Gospel.

Whilst at dinner with a Pharisee Jesus offers some instructions on how to celebrate and dine together. He said that one should invite those who cannot repay the favour. He is insisting that we share our generosity with those who cannot otherwise enjoy it.

Jesus then shares the story of the Great Banquet, wherein the invitations of a magnanimous host are repeatedly declined. It is an allegory for God’s call for each one of us to join him in the Kingdom. Very often we receive that call but decline to accept it, just like the guests in the story. Whilst one lesson is to learn how to say Yes to God, another point worth reflecting on today is why might we decline the invitation.

We’re told that the host will open wide his doors to deliberately call the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame – all who are outcast from society. Maybe it is our pride that stops us from seeing our need for God; or perhaps it is that we, too, are in someway cast out. Can we accept God’s call to us?

We know that we can never repay God for his kindness to us. We are totally undeserving. We are the ones who cannot repay God. We need to accept God’s generosity in our lives, and be generous with those who need generosity in theirs.

Is there some act of generosity that we can do, perhaps like the boys at Rondebosch, or like the host in the story?

Lord Jesus,
teach me
to be
teach me
to serve you
as you deserve,
to give and not
to count the cost,
to fight and not
to heed the wounds,
to toil and not
to seek for rest,
to labour and not
to seek reward,
except that of knowing
that I do
your will.

Fr Matthew Charlesworth SJ

Fr Matthew Charlesworth SJ entered the Society of Jesus in 2005 and underwent the usual course of studies in his formation, which took him to such varied places as Canada, France, Ireland, Kenya, Spain, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, the United States, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Whilst working at the Institute, Matthew managed the background technical aspects of much of the Institute's work and was involved in the Spirituality work, completing the Advanced Spiritual Directors Training Course and the Spiritual Exercises Training run by the Institute. He is a member of Spiritual Directors International and was also a part-time lecturer in Sacred Scripture at St Augustine College of South Africa. He is currently the Director of Communications for the Jesuits in Southern Africa, based in Lusaka, Zambia.

m.charlesworth@jesuitinstitute.org.za @mcharlesworth
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