05 November, 2019. Tuesday of Week 31

1st Reading: Romans 12:5-16

Though many, we are one body in Christ, with a variety of gifts

We who are many are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honour. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are.

Responsorial: Psalm 130

R./: In you, Lord, I have found my peace

O Lord, my heart is not proud
nor haughty my eyes.
I have not gone after things too great
nor marvels beyond me. (R./)
Truly I have set my soul
in silence and peace.
A weaned child on its mother’s breast,
even so is my soul. (R./)
O Israel, hope in the Lord
both now and for ever. (R./)

Gospel: Luke 14:15-24

God invites poor people from all sorts of places

One of the dinner guests said to Jesus, “Blessed is anyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!”
In reply, Jesus said to him, “Someone gave a great dinner and invited many. At the time for the dinner he sent his slave to say to those who had ben invited, ‘Come; for everything is ready now.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of land, and I must go out and see it; please accept my regrets.’ Another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please accept my regrets.’ Another said, ‘I have just been married, and therefore I cannot come.’ So the slave returned and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and said to his slave, ‘Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ And the slave said, ‘Sir, what you ordered has been done, and there is still room.” Then the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the roads and lanes, and compel people to come in, so that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those who were invited will taste my dinner.’”


Belonging to each other

The gift of a hopeful temperament is not given to us simply for our private contentment, but as a healing power for others. Indeed, unless it is shared, our own hope can wilt away. A great saying of St Paul is, “Rejoice in hope.” We are meant to share with others our gifts of prosperity and personality because we are “one body in Christ and members one of another.” Each one, like an organic part of a human body, must serve the entire body. Paul expands on this with a set of practical examples. When the hand carries food to the mouth it is not for the hand’s sake but for the whole body. And we are not so absorbed with pleasing our palate, but with feeding the whole body.
Paul lists seven gifts of value to his people:
1. prophecy, to strengthen our shared faith in Christ;
2. ministry, to serve others in their material or physical needs;
3. teaching, that the mystery of Jesus be more fully appreciated;
4. exhortation, to share enthusiasm for the faith;
5. almsgiving from one’s surplus, generously and graciously;
6. administration, to guide the church, as a service of love;
7. works of mercy, done cheerful spirit.
The good of the entire church depends on the cooperation of each member within the body, but the church is weakened, if its  members fail to function. The Gospel reinforces this principle. We should not set our personal goals in opposition to our duty to form community with others. Remembering how helpless and impoverished we would be if left to our own devices only, we take our part in welcoming others into the hospitable family of God.
Accepting invitations. Then in the gospel, we see how Jesus mixed freely with other guests at mealtimes. Once he was dining with a leading Pharisee and other Pharisees and religious lawyers were present. One of the guests makes an enthusiastic declaration, “Blessed are they who will feast in the kingdom of God!” In reply, Jesus told a parable comparing God’s kingdom to a great feast. But whereas the outburst of faith looked forward to a feast in the future, in the parable the invitations to God’s table have already gone out in the present. Jesus draws their attention from the future to the here and now.
If God has invited us, how will we respond? Ominously, we learn that some people who initially accepted the invitation turned it down at the last minute, when the meal was ready to be served. They let themselves be distracted by various interests, which are all good in themselves but are not the primary good.
The excuses they came up with are rather like what we ourselves might use. But as a result of their refusal, their places are given to the kinds of people who normally get invited to nothing. These poor people had no other engagements and were delighted to accept. It’s a reminder to say yes to the Lord’s invitation in the present moment and not to let minor matters take all of our time, so that we are not longer free to say yes when God calls.


Saint Martin de Porres

Martin de Porres Velazquez (1579-1639), was a Peruvian lay-brother of the Dominican Order, who was born and died in Lima. He was noted for work on behalf of the poor and especially for children, for whom he established an orphanage and a children’s hospital. Many miracles or healing are attributed to him, as well as an ability to communicate with animals. He was beatified in 1837 and canonized in 1962. He is the patron saint of mixed-race people, barbers, innkeepers, public health workers, and workers for racial harmony.

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