Who’s on your guest list?

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6 November 2017

Imagine you are throwing a party and you could invite anyone in the world… who would be on your guest list? Would you invite your family and friends? Maybe your favourite singer, actor or athlete? No one is off limits.

Now think, where would you place yourself amongst them? You might see yourself as equal to some and aspiring to be others. So much of our behaviour, choices and actions are determined by the perceived expectations of others or the expectations we place on ourselves. Can you see a connection between these ‘expectations’ and your ‘invitations’?

Jesus today challenges us to not be under the influence of these expectations, but to find true freedom through Him. Jesus’ example is simple: who is on your guest list? This question encourages us to give freely without expectation, flowing from the belief that we have received true freedom through God. He challenges us to treat the poor, crippled, lame, blind and those who cannot pay you back into your house and at a seat at your table.

Jesus invites you to freedom. This freedom is a grace to act out of mercy, out of care, out of compassion, out of a life inspired by love. This is exactly how Pope Francis encourages us to invite others into this freedom of faith:

Instead of seeming to impose new obligations, [we] should appear as people who wish to share their joy, who point to a horizon of beauty and who invite others to a delicious banquet. (Evangelii Gaudium)

We are called to invite all people to share in this banquet, even those who can give nothing in return. Giving without hope of reward feels like letting go of rational satisfaction. But, all you have to do is turn to what Paul says to the Romans:

How rich are the depths of God – how deep his wisdom and knowledge – and how impossible to penetrate his motives or understand his methods! Who could ever know the mind of the Lord? Who could ever be his counsellor? Who could ever give him anything or lend him anything?
All that exists comes from him; all is by him and for him. To him be glory forever! (Romans 11:29-36)

Can we ever possibly repay the immense love from God that we have received through Christ? No. Yet, Jesus has prepared a place for you in the house of the Lord, a seat at the table of His banquet. (John 14:3)

May we enter today with hearts rejoicing in the freedom granted through faith, willing to respond to all situations by giving glory to God. Let us not seek reward for our actions towards others, but act in a spirit of faith, hope and love.

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