Loving the outcasts


                Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid.  But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.  Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous” (Luke 14: 12-14.)



                In the Jewish culture, when a person was invited to a meal, it was expected that they would return the favor the next time they hosted a dinner party.  Not everyone owned a home; not everyone could afford to feed many guests; therefore only those who were wealthy and affluent would regularly be invited to attend feasts.  The poor, the lame, the sick, and the blind were often overlooked.  Yet Jesus commanded his disciples to invite those who could not reimburse them for their love and generosity.  In so doing, they would forgo earthly rewards in favor of eternal riches; those who have given expecting nothing in return will be rewarded for their acts of selfless love on the day when the dead are raised to eternal life.

                Every Halloween my mother insisted that we sit around our fireplace and carve pumpkins; and every year, she asked the disabled family that lived in our neighborhood to join us.  They were poor, and everyone in their family had some debilitating disorder; they were often mocked and teased by many in our small community; shamefully, I myself, being a child, was slightly embarrassed when they came to our home.  Yet, as I look back, I now understand the goodness of my mother’s actions.  She reached out to those who were outcasts; she accepted those who had been shunned by others; she chose to embrace a family who could not repay her for her kindness.  In so doing, she had fulfilled the teachings of Jesus Christ.

                As Christians, our mandate is to love without condition or stipulation; we must embrace those who are outcasts; we must care for the poor, the lame, the sick and the blind; we must be generous toward those who cannot repay us; in so doing, we too will fulfill the teachings our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.  And when we enter God’s eternal Kingdom, we will receive the full reward for our acts of selfless love.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, may we love those who are less fortunate.  May we reach out to those who are outcasts.  May we embrace those who are lost, and may we care for those who are suffering.  May we abandon any unholy pursuit of earthly rewards, in favor of heavenly riches.  Fill us with Your Spirit that we may be more like You; that others might see our good works and glorify Your Holy Name.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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