“When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors”, Jesus tells us in this Sunday’s gospel (Luke 14:1, 7-14). This sounds like a recipe for dinner party disaster. What is Jesus thinking? What is Jesus saying?
Well, Jesus is not seeking to oust the likes of Martha Stewart or any of the other lifestyle gurus. This is not advice for hospitality or entertainment. Jesus is revealing the Kingdom of God, and thus what it is to happen in the hearts of those who belong to the King.
The Kingdom of God, that is, the life of God in which we so graciously participate, is about a love that transcends natural ties—those of family and friends. Divine love is certainly to take hold of and transform these ties, but there is an other love bestowed upon us. And, the resulting opening of the heart of the children of God ought to know no bounds. Why? Because this love from above, divine love that makes of us children of God, know no bounds. Recall the mysterious counsel offered in Hebrews 13:2, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.”
Jesus is not giving advice for hospitality or entertainment. Jesus is expressing his desire that our hearts be wide open, with a wideness that He makes possible, a wideness that leads to unconditional welcome of whomever He sends our way—including persons for whom we have no natural affinity, a wideness that leads to entertaining angels.
Yours in the hospitality of Jesus,
From the desk of the Rector