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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Monday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Phil 2:1-4): Brothers and sisters: If there is any encouragement in Christ, any solace in love, any participation in the Spirit, any compassion and mercy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing. Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also everyone for those of others.
Responsorial Psalm: 130
R/. In you, o Lord, I have found my peace.
O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor are my eyes haughty; I busy not myself with great things, nor with things too sublime for me.

Nay rather, I have stilled and quieted my soul like a weaned child. Like a weaned child on its mother's lap, so is my soul within me.

O Israel, hope in the Lord, both now and forever.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 8:31b-32): Alleluia. If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, says the Lord. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Lk 14:12-14): 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."

“Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor… blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."

Fr. Austin Chukwuemeka IHEKWEME (Ikenanzizi, Nigeria)

Today, the Lord teaches us the true meaning of Christian generosity: to learn how to devote ourselves to others. "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.” (Lk 14:12).

Christians move about in this world as any other person; but the fundamental purpose in dealing with our neighbor cannot be either human rewards or the vainglory; over everything else, we have to seek the Glory of God pretending no other recompense than Heaven. “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" (Lk 42:13-14).

The Lord invites all of us to give ourselves unconditionally to all men, motivated only by our love for God and for our brothers in the Lord. “If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, and get back the same amount” (Lk 6:34).

Things are like that because the Lord helps us to understand that, if we give ourselves unselfishly, without expecting anything in return, God will repay us with a greater reward and will confirm us as His favorite children. This is why Jesus tells us: “But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High” (Lk 6:35).

Let us beg from the Mother of God enough generosity so that we can elude any temptation of selfishness, as her Son did. “Selfish. Always looking after yourself You seem incapable of feeling the fraternity of Christ. In those around you, you do not see brothers: you see stepping stones…” (Saint Josemaria Escriva).

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “A word, a kindly smile, will often suffice to gladden a wounded and sorrowful heart.” (Saint Therese of the Child Jesus)

  • “Jesus asks those who would follow him to love those who do not deserve it, without expecting anything in return, and in this way to fill the emptiness present in human hearts, relationships, families, communities and in the entire world.” (Francis)

  • “The Eucharist commits us to the poor. To receive in truth the Body and Blood of Christ given up for us, we must recognize Christ in the poorest, his brethren.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, nº 1,397)