The meal…yet again.
The meal…yet again on the Sabbath.
The meal…yet again with a Pharisee or two seeking a source of conflict (and they watched him closely.) This meal, with the healing on the Sabbath of the man with dropsy omitted, introduces a section on Luke about the banquet and how invitations are sent and reactions to the offer to attend. A little homework for all to get the context!
Jesus accepts the invitation according to the customs of the time. Food and drink were important, but the talk, the philosophy, the banter and the dilemmas were the real business. It was not unknown to be invited to go up higher…so nothing new in that advice; just, as it were, a friendly reminder. Jesus changes the accepted protocol in the final sentence and there is the challenge for us. Who do we invite?
It is Migrants and Refugee Sunday in our Churches this weekend. Maybe the teaching can apply to the Australian nation. We seem not to be as inviting as on previous occasions. Sirach asks us to be “gentle in carrying out your business.” Do we need to have a rethink about how we use the word ‘illegal?’ Ought children be treated in the same way as adults? Are there other ways to tackle people smugglers?
Our Psalm recalls that our God is a “Father of the orphan, defender of the widow.” Maybe we are called to extend the hospitality of our tables to someone we have never met, or to use the meal to resolve conflict.
Hospitality does change attitudes and people.
- We all had a great weekend at Templestowe. One feature often remarked, was the friendship readily established, and the strength gained from coming together from different regions.
“Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News!”
Luke seems to take a step back and offer a summary of the previous episodes of activity….preaching, questions, attempts to trap, unwillingness to receive the answers, even rejection. All the efforts of Jesus for his own people seem to be summed up in the lament “Yes there are those now last who will be first, and those now first who will be last”.
However the truth of that statement continues in our age. The new chosen people, the sons and daughters referred to in the letter to the Hebrews. We are those chosen to take the mission to the 21st century. What happens to us if we, in a sense, “drop the ball” as has happened in and to previous generations?
It happened to Isaiah and the people in his time. There was obviously some concern early in the life of the new Christian community, and the letter to the Hebrews attempts to give hope and encouragement to those who felt they had limp arms and trembling knees.
After all his words on the way up to Jerusalem, one can sense a degree of frustration in Jesus’ word today. “Can’t they hear? Can’t they listen? Can’t they see? ”
So try your best. Give it a go. Give it your best shot! You may well find yourself at the feast in the Kingdom of God.
- The Retreat / formation weekend is progressing at a fine pace with many new couples. New Zealand is represented and we are tapping into a huge store of experience and talent…all good!
A difficult week for us amateurs, to pull something out of the readings, but then even the great professionals are failing occasionally in Rio.
So let us begin by remembering that Jesus is still on the road to Jerusalem and the cloud of unknowing hangs over him and his disciples. All sorts of things have happened in Jerusalem…Jesus knows that, so to do the disciples and the people he meets on the way. We are reminded of that truth today by the account of the attempt to kill the great prophet Jeremiah.
“For the sake of the joy which was still in the future, he endured the cross.” We can see in this word from Hebrews that despite the great crowd of witnesses to the goodness of a loving God, something was missing. By doing what he did, Jesus laid the foundation for all people to become believers who would be able to share in “the full assurance of faith.” His would come on a cross, and at a great cost – division. The call to believe would be divisive. And Jesus makes that truth very clear in his statements.
Of course acceptance brings lasting contentment and peace!
One minor difficulty is that he is dealing, like us, with the everyday reality of human stubbornness and hardness of heart…and we don’t have to be high on artificial stimulants to possess those characteristics. So he is still calling the crowds to conversion before it is too late, and we endeavour to be converted ourselves, and to be a sign of contradiction in 2016 for others before it is too late.
He was called Satan by some and Son of God by others. He did say on one occasion that “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”
Ultimately, again with an eye on the coming City of Jerusalem, renowned for the killing of the prophets, we must discern the signs and decide.
P.S. A special prayer for the participants and presenters at TEAMS Oceania Formation Weekend at Templestowe commencing on Friday August 19.
Lots of words, difficult words and, to some extent, obscure contexts!
So a choice has to be made.
We settle for verse 40 as our kick off point. “You too must stand ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
In recent weeks, Jesus has dealt with the subject of fear and urged us not to fear death or to fear the lack of possessions. Both teachings are profoundly challenging.
This week he returns to teaching on fear, but it is rather “whom should I, or they, fear?” His quick answer is that all should be aware of the judgement of God to be carried out at the coming of the Son of Man. This then raises more questions and the big one that has bedevilled people for 2000 years is ‘when?’ The early Christians thought it was very very soon, the Climatologists tell us that the End is nigh. Pope Paul VI believed we were on the new springtime of the Church and there are still plenty of rulers who act as if their time is the only time and all we need to do is to let them act as if they know all things. Jesus proposes that the way forward is to practise table hospitality. ….”put on your apron.” This turns authority upside down. This concept is further reinforced in the parable at the end of today’s reading which in effect takes us back to that action at the Last Supper “I am among you as one who serves.” Authority is here expressed in table service.
For Teams, this teaching amplifies an understanding of our Charism. The table, the food and drink, the conversation and the service. Yes, authority is expressed in table service and if we practise that, we will not fear the coming of the Son of Man.