Luke 14:1, 7–14
On a sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully.
He told a parable to those who had been invited, noticing how they were choosing the places of honour at the table. “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honour. A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him, and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then you would proceed with embarrassment to take the lowest place. Rather, when you are invited, go and take the lowest place so that when the host comes to you he may say, ‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’ Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Then he said to the host who invited him, “When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbours, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
When we have a meal with others, it tends to be with members of our family, or with members of our community, or with friends. We rarely eat with total strangers.
Yet, Jesus shared table not alone with is friends and disciples; he shared his table with people he didn’t know, people he had little in common with. He shared table with Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector, who had a reputation for taking more money from people than he was entitled to. Jesus shared table on a regular basis with ‘tax collectors and sinners’. The more religious people, like the Pharisees, were scandalized by this and criticized Jesus for it. Yet, Jesus also shared table with his critics, people like the Pharisees. That is what we find him doing in today’s gospel reading. On the Sabbath day, he went for a meal to the house of one of the leading Pharisees, who was very suspicious of Jesus. Why did Jesus share table with such a wide range of people? He was revealing something about God. He was making present the hospitality of God, which embraced everyone, those who were considered religious and those who were made to feel sinners, those who were disciples of Jesus and those who had rejected Jesus.
Lord, when I perceive Your presence in my life, give me the courage I need to respond. May I never let societal pressures or pride interfere with my turning to You. I love You, dear Lord. Help me to love You without reserve. Jesus, I trust in You.