Monday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time [I]

Reading Romans 11:29-36
Gospel Luke 14:12-14

"For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."

Although Jesus’ words today take the form of a command (“do not invite…”) to us as His disciples, we can reflect today on His words through a process of inversion. That is, we can consider ourselves as those invited to a banquet. The one inviting us is the Lord Jesus. The banquet is the sacramental celebration of the Last Supper: the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Shortly before the distribution of Holy Communion, the priest—holding aloft the Sacred Host—proclaims that “[b]lessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.” The response of the faithful is, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof… .” In this, both priest and faithful gaze on the One who has called us to Him. We are “the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind” of whom Jesus speaks in today’s Gospel passage.

For God Himself, of course, it’s not that He will be blessed because of our inability to repay Him. It is from the Lord’s own divine goodness—eternal and infinite—that He bestows on us the blessing on being called to the banquet of the Eucharist. Although we are unable to repay the Lord “in kind” for this invitation, we can nonetheless repay Him with our lives: with the self-gift of our own body and blood, soul and humanity as Jesus’ disciples.