According to scripture, our social aspirations betray the placement of our hearts – with God, or with false idols. In a passage unique to Luke, Jesus, in our Gospel today, insists that, contrary to everything society tells us, we should not try to “keep up with the Joneses.” Rather, we should keep “down” with those in need, “the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind,” and rejoice when they cannot repay us, “for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous”.
Jesus uses two familiar social situations – dining at table and guest invitation lists- to teach us about knowing our self in both our gifts and limitations. The first parable about wedding guests invites us to reflect on knowing ourselves in relation to others. We are invited but it is God who invites. Our relationship with God is as those who are poor; we cannot buy our place in heaven. It is in God’s choosing us that we share in divine riches and sharing in God’s life. If this is how God relates to us, then this is how we relate to others.
The second parable invites us to reflect on how we wish God to relate to us. No one is excluded from the banquet. Neither should we exclude others from our attention and service. We are called to extend ourselves to all others, regardless of social or economic class , religious affiliation or gender. We give ourselves over for the good of others.