Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr. Stephen B. Reynolds

11/5/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

True greatness is found when we serve others without expecting repayment.

Highlights

By Fr. Stephen B. Reynolds

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

11/5/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Year of Faith

Keywords: Homily, Daily Scripture Readings, Daily Mass Readings, Pharisee, Parables, Humility, Service, Poor, Needy, Charity, the Virtues, Ambition, St. Theresa, Sugar Land, Fr. Stephen B. Reynolds


SUGAR LAND, TX (Catholic Online) From the moment that he was invited to the home of one of the Pharisees, Jesus was being watched (Luke 14:1).   He was subject to a kind of religious surveillance, consistent with the skeptical attitude of much of the Jewish leadership towards Christ.  The Lord was not deterred by the distrust of others, however, since the "Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost" (Luke 19:10).

Jesus does not waste any opportunity to proclaim the Good News.  He teaches large crowds, family gatherings, and small assemblies in neighborhood synagogues.  Jesus engages the good and the struggling, the proud and the curious.  No one is beyond his saving mission: neither this Pharisee nor his guests; neither you nor me. 

Why did this Pharisee offer Jesus a place at his table?  Perhaps he was simply curious. Not necessarily the cynical curiosity of Herod Antipas (see Luke 23:8) and other enemies of the Lord, but possessing a sincere desire to experience firsthand the personality and preaching of Jesus.  

The other guests provided the theme for Jesus' discourse. "He told a parable to those who were invited, when he marked how they chose the places of honor" (Luke 14:7).  To assume honor for oneself can lead to disordered ambition, wherein a person seeks recognition for an excellence they do not possess (see St. Thomas Aquinas; S.T., IIa, IIae, q. 131).

What then, disposes a person to acquire the humility that is a characteristic of authentic excellence?  "When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your kinsmen or rich neighbors, 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" (Luke 14:12-14).

Jesus exhorts us to examine our motives and intentions, and refine them through the practice of charity.  Note that the Lord's words presume that we are already disposed to be altruistic and hospitable to others.  A generous heart is indispensible for Christian discipleship.

Furthermore, authentic generosity is marked by self-forgetfulness.  The follower of Christ does not practice charity in order to be noticed.  Just the opposite ought to be true: "When you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you" (Matthew 6:3-4).  

Because Jesus himself is the model for authentic charity, our practice of this virtue ought to reflect God's charity towards us.  For this reason, the Lord commands us to serve those who are incapable of returning the favor.  "Invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind," Jesus says. 

"The Lord asks us to love as he does, even our enemies, to make ourselves the neighbor of those farthest away, and to love children and the poor as Christ himself" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1825).

In addition to the poor and the sick, there are others: those with whom we disagree, those who have hurt our feelings, those who rub us the wrong way.  Are we not called to serve them in some way?  Perhaps not with a literal seat at our dinner table, but certainly with a measure of prayer and sacrifice.

Every celebration of the Holy Mass is a participation in, and anticipation of, the Paschal Banquet of Heaven, where the elect experience God face-to-face.  In the Eucharistic sacrifice, Jesus invites us to share in His eternal wedding feast.  May the merciful Lord grant us a spirit of selfless service, so that we might be made worthy to be called higher up. 

Fr. Stephen B. Reynolds is pastor of St. Theresa Catholic Church in Sugar Land, Tx, a suburb of Houston.  You may visit the parish website at: www.SugarLandCatholic.com.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2014
Christmas, hope for humanity:
That the birth of the Redeemer may bring peace and hope to all people of good will.
Parents: That parents may be true evangelizers, passing on to their children the precious gift of faith.



Comments


More Year of Faith

The Wedding Invitation of Jesus: We are Called to Live the Nuptial Mystery Watch

Image of There will be no giving or taking in marriage in the kingdom to come because the very purpose and meaning of marriage itself will be fulfilled. (See, e.g. Mk. 12:18-27) We will be living in the fullness of the Communion of Love with the Trinity. The symbol will give way to the eternal reality, the Sacrament will be fulfilled in the fullness of communion. All of human love will be completed in the Love which lasts forever.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

It is not accidental that the Bible, from beginning to the end, uses marriage as a metaphor and a symbol to reveal the plan of God for the whole human race.  Marriage was God's plan from the beginning as we see in the first book of Genesis. Throughout the Old ... continue reading


The Sower. The Seed. The Field. Understanding the Christian Mission Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

"A sower went out to sow. And, as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for ... continue reading


Reflection on the Catholic Catechism: Understanding the Bible Watch

Image of

By Michael Terheyden

How we interpret the Bible is of immense importance! It directly affects what we believe about Christ, the Church, and our faith, but it is also related to many of the grave problems in our society and the world. Yet, despite the gravity of this situation, we have good ... continue reading


Christ the King, the Year of Faith and the Catholic Counterculture Watch

Image of On this Solemnity of the Feast of Christ the King, the Year of Faith inaugurated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI comes to a ceremonial end. However, in reality, it cannot and will not end, because Jesus Christ is King! The Year of Faith was only the beginning for those who choose to live the Life of Faith.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. It is one of many opportunities the Catholic Church year offers to each one of us to consider the creature called time, receive it as a gift, and begin to really live our lives differently.  This is one of ... continue reading


The Bones of Peter, the Successor of Peter: Close of the Year of Faith Watch

Image of The bones of St. Peter the Apostle

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On the Solemnity of the Feast of Christ the King, the Sunday which marks both the end of the Church Year and the end of the Year of Faith, inaugurated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Pope Francis greeted thousands of the faithful and presided over Holy Mass and the ... continue reading


Fr Randy Sly on Becoming a House of Prayer Watch

Image of Jesus drives the money changers from the temple. 

With hearts clear and focused on our Lord, we can follow the advice of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Everything starts with prayer. Love to pray--feel the need to pray often during the day and take the trouble to pray. If you want to pray better, you must pray more. The more you pray, the easier it becomes. Perfect prayer does not consist of many words but in the fervor of the desire which raises the heart to Jesus. (Fr. Randy Sly)

By Father Randy Sly

Becoming a House of Prayer is the best discipline we can take on. St. Ephraem of Syria states that Virtues are formed by prayer. Prayer preserves temperance. Prayer suppresses anger. Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy. Prayer draws into the soul the Holy ... continue reading


Jesus Weeps and Offers the Path to Peace Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

If this day you only knew what makes for peace- but now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides. They will smash you to the ground and your ... continue reading


The Kingdom of God is Among You. What Did Jesus Mean? Watch

Image of The Christian vocation is, of its nature, a vocation to the apostolate as well. Indeed, we call an apostolate every activity of the Mystical Body that aims to spread the Kingdom of Christ over all the earth. (CCC#863)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

In Jesus Christ, the Kingdom has been inaugurated. Upon his return it will be made complete and fully manifested in a new heaven and a new earth. We are members of the Body of Christ which makes it present here and now - as seed and sign for a world which is in labor. ... continue reading


Year of Faith: Bringing the Feast of the Presentation of Mary to Life Watch

Image of The Feast of the Presentation of Mary is celebrated in both the Eastern and Western Churches. It recalls the day in the life of the Jewish girl named Mary (Maryam) when her parents, Joachim and Anne, presented her to the Lord in the temple and dedicated her life to Him.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On this Feast of the Presentation of Mary, let us make the choice to surrender ourselves to the same Lord who Joachim and Ann honored when they presented their dear daughter in the temple. Their daughter, Mary, became the Second Eve. The New Creation was born through ... continue reading


WEDNESDAY HOMILY: Our Lady's Encouragement Watch

Image of

By Fr Samuel Medley, SOLT

I got off the subway at Termini station and went up to the busy streets of Rome.  I had to walk past the place where all the prostitutes gathered.  I looked down at the street and began to pray in fear.  Suddenly I heard a feminine voice say, "Be a man!" ... continue reading


All Year of Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Judges 13:2-7, 24-25
2 There was a man of Zorah of the tribe of Dan, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 71:3-4, 5-6, 16-17
3 Be a sheltering rock for me, always accessible; you ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 1:5-25
5 In the days of King Herod of Judaea there lived a ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 19th, 2014 Image

St. Nemesius
December 19: Martyr of Egypt. He was burned alive in Alexandria, Egypt, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter