Welcome Outsiders Into Our Inner Circle

– Monday 31st Week in Ordinary Time –

But 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.”  [Luke 14:13-14]

It is very ingrained in the Australian psyche to reciprocate when given a favour. If you shout your mates a drink in the pub, it is expected that each mate in turn will buy the next drink until the round is complete. It is frowned upon if this social convention is broken, especially if one leaves before you have paid for your round. Whether it be gift giving, paying for a meal, borrowing a car or tools or inviting friends to a family wedding, there is an implicit understanding that this gesture will be repaid when the occasion arises. Many a family feud has erupted over a failure to return a wedding invitation. 

Jesus is challenging social conventions by advocating that we don’t pat each other on the back by only inviting those who will repay our hospitality. Rather, Jesus asks that we invite those who do not have the capacity to return our generosity. We instinctively do this with some things but not with others. Australians are very generous in supporting a wide range of causes through donations, fun runs, go fund me campaigns etc, without any expectation of personal return other than the knowledge that they have helped those in need. 

Today Jesus asks us if we bring those who are hurting and deprived into our inner circle and make them feel welcome or do we keep them at arm’s length and merely say a prayer for them or give them a donation.   


by Mike Humphrys

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