Invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind ...
He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”
I think that it is very hard in the western world to receive a gift when we are unable to repay the gift in kind. We all want to be generous and charitable but very few want to be given something they have not earned or deserved in some way. Even government sponsored welfare is viewed more as an entitlement than charity for those reasons. No one wants to admit to being needy and no one wants to be marginalized as a person needing charity.
Yet Jesus says in the gospel accounts that we will always have the poor among us.. and in this passage from Luke's gospel he speaks of welcoming them into our meals and our lives. This is a difficult scripture for we in the western world. We want this verse to be all about our donations to charity and our generosity yet the verse speaks deeply to the idea of involvement with the poor. It is as if Jesus is telling us that people do not need our money but they need us.
Help me to both receive and give charity today Lord.