One of those at table with Jesus said to him, “Blessed is the one who will dine in the Kingdom of God.” He replied to him, “A man gave a great dinner to which he invited many. When the time for the dinner came, he dispatched his servant to say to those invited, ‘Come, everything is now ready'” (Lk 14:15-17)
In the midst of increasing violence, polarization, shouting over one another, delegitimizing, and dehumanizing of one another, some react by sinking into cynicism, indifference, apathy, or worse, despair and hopelessness, while others strike back with harsh words, rhetoric, or more violence. These reactions were present in Jesus’ time as well, yet he leads us to an alternative response to deal with division and hate.
Judaism was far from unified. The Sadducees, Pharisees and scribes, Samaritans, Zealots, and Essenes all felt they were the authentic expression of Israel. Jesus not only addressed this division by sitting down to break bread with as diverse a population as possible, he also shared parables around the same idea of the invitation to share in the celebration of a feast, as we read today.
Each encounter that we are blessed to partake in is an invitation to experience communion. We have the opportunity to interact in person, face to face, or through the myriad of other technological means of social media. Through each opportunity we can demean, degrade, delegitimize, gossip, or defame or we can accept the invitation of encounter by embracing the opportunity to treat each other with dignity, respect, kindness, and understanding, yes, even when we disagree.
We are all hurting, suffering, and in pain in some form or fashion. We all seek to belong, to be a part of, and to be accepted. We need each other. Each day we have a choice to make. Are we going to further perpetuate the condition of original sin, choosing our self over God and one another, or are we going to engage in being a healing agent of reconciliation and communion?
Jesus help us to notice the suffering of our brothers and sisters, to be aware of their trials and tribulations. When others act toward us in any way that is less than kind, grant us patience. If someone is short with us, let us resist the defensive response and instead ask if there is any way we can help. If someone is talking over us, grant us the ability to breath and listen. Ultimately, help us to be a vehicle for the love of God in our interactions with one another and in our vote today.
This morning is election day in our country. If you have voted already, great! If not, by God, do not turn down the invitation to be an actively engaged citizen. Be respectful, go out and vote your conscience.
Photo: JoAnn and I voted, now your turn to make your voice heard!