Homily – September 1, 2013

Keep Things in Perspective

Jesus was a keen observer of what was going on around him, as the saying goes, ‘he never missed a trick’ The gospel tells us the Scribes and Pharisees were watching him but he was watching them too. They pushed their way to the best places at table feeling these places belonged to them because of their status or power. But we’ve all learned from experience, pushy people get their come up pence. Eventually, embarrassed and shamed they are sent to sit in the lowest place.

Recently we’ve had our fill of celebrities and political leaders falling by the wayside, brought down by sexual involvements or stealing from the public burse. They imagined that because of fame or fortune there were entitled to sit in the first place in the banquet of life; they were entitled to feed from the public trough and betray public trust.

Remember the famous words of Mary in her Magnificat,’ He who is mighty has done great things for me and holy is his name.’ Each one of us can honestly say those words. We are all blessed, graced in one way or another. We can all say that we are blessed with life, with faith, with intellectual gifts, with artistic talents, athletic skills. We all have God given gifts that enhance our lives. The important thing is to recognize these talents for what they are – gifts, gifts for which we should be grateful, gifts that we are meant to share with others.

That’s what Jesus had in mind when he told his fellow guests that when they throw a party they should invite as guests men and women who couldn’t possibly pay them back

At the time of Jesus reciprocity was the normal way of doing things. I do you a favor, you do me a favor. I invite you to my home for a meal so I expect you will do the same for me. A lot of times people would decline and invitation to a meal because they knew they couldn’t afford to respond in kind.

Jesus suggests another which shook them all up. When you have a party don’t invite friends and relatives, people you know will invite you to their homes in return. Invite the poor, the cripple, the lame and the blind. These are people who couldn’t possibly repay you now but who will repay you when all turns to dust and you hear those wonderful words,’ as often as you did these things to the least of these brothers and sisters of mine you did them to me. Take for your possession the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

We are a blessed and gifted people. May we always remember it is in giving that we receive.