A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans (Romans 11:29-36)
“God has consigned all men to disobedience, that he may have mercy
Brethren: The gifts and the call of God are irrevocable. Just as you were once disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may receive mercy. For God has consigned all men to disobedience, that he may have mercy upon all. O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgements and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counsellor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory for ever. Amen.
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 69:30-31.33-34.36-37 (R. 14c)
R/. In your great mercy, answer me, O Lord.
As for me in my poverty and pain,
let your salvation, O God, raise me up.
Then I will praise God’s name with a song;
I will glorify him with thanksgiving. R/.
The poor when they see it will be glad,
and God-seeking hearts will revive;
for the Lord listens to the needy,
and does not spurn his own in their chains. R/.
For God will bring salvation to Sion,
and rebuild the cities of Judah,
and they shall dwell there in possession.
The children of his servants shall inherit it;
those who love his name shall dwell there. R/.
ALLELUIA John 8:31b-32
Alleluia. If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, says the Lord. Alleluia.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (Luke 14:12-14)
Do not invite your friends, but the poor and the maimed.
At that time: Jesus said to the ruler who belonged to the Pharisees, who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your kinsmen or rich neighbours, lest they also invite you in return, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
God’s love is unconditional and inclusive. He does not exclude anyone from his love or discriminate between persons based on their social/ financial status. We need to practice this inclusive love of God at our own social functions and gatherings. The poor, the maimed, the lame and the blind represent the less privileged ones of society. They often find themselves excluded from social life. They are exploited by the rich and powerful. They are denied their basic human dignity. But for Jesus, they are children of God with equal dignity and status. He speaks for them and their rightful place in society and social events. When we invite them, we are truly inviting Christ, who comes to us in disguise. “if we truly wish to encounter Christ, we have to touch his body in the suffering bodies of the poor,” says pope Francis. In verse 11 Jesus makes it clear by the startling paradox: “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” In the eternal banquet of heaven, those less privileged ones will be invited to enjoy the equal status and dignity of the children of God.