Sunday, November 02, 2014

United in Heart

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.  Philippians 2:1-2

“Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and 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.”  Luke 14:13-14

Father, too often we busy ourselves with activity that is not important to your eyes.  Jesus, help us to surrender ourselves to the forces of humility and obedience to which you are the ultimate model.  Holy Spirit, give us the wisdom and fortitude to give to those who have no ability to repay us.

According to the notes in the New American Bible, the parable of the great dinner in today’s Good News is a further illustration of the rejection by Israel (God’s chosen people) of Jesus’ invitation to share in the banquet in the kingdom.  The extension of the invitation to other Jews whose identification as the poor, crippled, blind, and lame classifies them among those who recognize their need for salvation, and to Gentiles.

If the Jews knew that they were God’s chosen people, yet still rejected Jesus, how much more do we need to undertake introspection on the cause of our American exceptionalism and see if we are also an extension of the chosen ones?  If so, how much more must we guard against rejected Jesus.

We must separate ourselves from that in the world to which we are committed for selfish purposes and instead become committed to total dedication necessary for the disciple of Jesus.  It is not about what we can get, it is about what we can give.

No strings attached.  Jesus pulls no punches and has no surprises.  There is no asterisk on his speeches, no six-point type below the offer of salvation.  Jesus is not like some telecommunications giant offering you a free tablet computer.  When you show up to collect it, Jesus will not want to sell you a wireless data plan for your whole family. 

If Jesus accepted humility and obedience to the point of death, he asks us to imitate that disposition.  Maybe, like Isaac, we will escape death right before the sacrifice.

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