Thoughts on the Readings for the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (C) 2016

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/082816.cfm 

In our Gospel this Sunday we are told that Jesus noticed how those who had been invited to a dinner “were choosing places of honor at the table,”.  In response to this he told a parable about places of honor at a wedding banquet.   After the parable Jesus suggested that “When you hold a lunch or a dinner do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have no repayment.  Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you.”   

In these words, Jesus was not inviting us to feign humility.   Rather I think he was inviting us to engage in humble service of those around us, most particularly the poor and lowly.    An axiom attributed to James Forbes, the pastor of Riverside Church in New York City is: “Nobody gets to heaven without a letter of reference from the poor!”   The humble service we provide those in need is really a measure of our discipleship. 

Our first reading this Sunday is taken from the Book of Sirach.   It shares the theme of the Gospel.   It exhorts us:  “My child, conduct your affairs with humility, and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts.  Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God.”    

In our second reading this Sunday we continue to read from the Letter to the Hebrews.   It is composed of two very long sentences.   The opening sentence refers to the Jewish people gathering with Moses on Mount Sinai.   This image is contrasted in the second sentence to the heavenly Jerusalem, where we will be gathered with “God the judge of all” and “Jesus the mediator of a new covenant.”    

Questions for Discussion/Reflection:

  1. Why are the poor so important to Jesus?
  2. Why is our concern for the poor so important?
  3. What’s your image of the heavenly Jerusalem?   
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