On a sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees. 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 sisters or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, 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.”
It is of the nature of God to give freely of the abundance that is God, which is Love. When that abundance is noticed, and received, too often I notice a catch. The temptation is to see a need to return the “favor” out of obligation. It seems that I am required to return gift with gift. What that does, however, as you know, is cheapen the gift. I am not able to enjoy the gift as much because of my concern with paying back the favor.
In today’s gospel, Jesus teaches a lesson about receiving gifts, invitations, abundance. The offer of a meal to those who “deserve” it is intentionally reciprocal. It is something altogether different to give for giving sake.
Ignatius of Loyola would find this a challenge towards “Magis”. Magis is a term used to indicate responding with a greater depth. When I find God in things, I feel compelled to respond more deeply. The desire to respond out of the love and joy that God offers teaches me to continue to give as well. The joy of the gift is in the giving. So give on.
—Fr. Kevin Schneider, SJ is the director of adult spirituality programs at Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, NE. He is a spiritual director and offers parish missions and retreats in the style of Ignatian Spirituality.
Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous;
teach me to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to seek reward,
except that of knowing that I do your will. Amen.
-St. Ignatius Loyola
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