Sunday, August 28, 2016
My Lord says ... Luke 14:1, 7-14
On a Sabbath, Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing Him carefully. He told a parable to those who had been invited, noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table. “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor. A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him, and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then you would proceed with embarrassment to take the lowest place. Rather, when you are invited, go and take the lowest place so that when the host comes to you he may say, ‘ My friend, move up to a higher position.’ Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table.
"For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled,
but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Then he said to the host who invited him,
“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 repayment.
Rather, when you hold a banquet,
invite the poor,
blessed indeed will you be
because of their inability to repay you.
For you will be repaid
at the resurrection of the righteous.”
*In deep thoughts ...
GENEROSITY AND KINDNESS
Generosity and kindness are two simple words to comprehend easily, but hard to put into practice in our life. Because in reality, how come we are more generous and kind towards other people whom we know personally or have become intimate with rather than to beggars living in the streets, especially those knocking at our car’s window? How come we often speak well and nicely to other people, like our work associates and friends rather than to our own family members? How come we are hospitable to our friends to welcome them in our house rather than to our own family members?
In other words, being the giver, generosity and kindness should be deeply rooted in our hearts to feel the unexplainable spirit of happiness about giving without expecting anything in return and being kind to others. On the other hand, if we are going to put ourselves in the shoes of the one begging, how do we feel when we ask and be rejected and treated unkindly by other people? So, which side should we choose?
I have a friend who has been living in California for many years already. In our conversation, she told me this story about her humble beginnings before she finally settled down in her own apartment. She used to live in a boarding care facility only because she worked as a caregiver. One time, she was invited by her cousin to stay with her family because she would become homeless already within two days after quitting her job. She accepted her cousin’s invitation, packed up her things, and picked up by her cousin as scheduled. Upon her arrival, she greeted her unmarried aunt (not her cousin’s mother) who was living with them in the same house. Instead of being hospitable to her, she grudgingly threw harsh words on her. In spite of her aunt’s untoward behavior, she didn’t respond to her negatively. Her cousin couldn’t respond to what their unmarried aunt was doing. Her cousin’s mother was not living with them anymore, but her father is.
While in the room together, her aunt was still annoyed with her presence in the house because she kept on murmuring. She was really wondering why her aunt bent all her anger to her for she hasn’t even done anything wrong to her personally. Her aunt mentioned about her eldest sister and brother not treating her well previously in the past. My friend told me that she asked her eldest sister about such unkind treatment she showed to their aunt, but her eldest sister denied it. So, in other words, my friend was in the middle of war between her aunt and her eldest sister. Because of the uncompromising situation, she left her cousin’s house two days after. Luckily, she got hired by a good company and has been living life alone by herself in her own apartment.
On the birthday celebration of her cousin, she was invited again by her cousin to join them. Their two other elder aunts were also present, as well as, her cousin’s father. During the meal, the same unmarried aunt who hates her, uttered harsh words again to her. In front of everybody, she courageously just asked her unmarried aunt why she had to bend her anger on her for she hasn’t done her anything wrong. Everybody was quiet, but her unmarried aunt replied by saying, “Because you are the sister that I needed to inform you of my grudges against your eldest sister and brother.” Then my friend didn’t finish her meal and decided to leave the celebration. She saw her elder aunt talking to her unmarried aunt, while her cousin’s father showed sign of irritation with his sister-in-law’s improper behavior.
Few weeks passed, her unmarried aunt called her, but my friend didn’t answer her aunt's first call. At the second try, she picked up her phone and answered her aunt’s second call calmly. Her unmarried aunt talked to her calmly, too, as if there was nothing that happened. But she didn’t apologize for her unruly behavior.
One time, while at work, her elder aunt called her, too, to ask her to forgive her youngest sister for what she did. Because of her elder aunt’s pleading, she forgave her unmarried aunt in her heart. In ending my friend’s story, she found out that her unmarried aunt left the country already.
"I will sing of your salvation. In you, O Lord, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame. In your justice rescue me and deliver me; incline your ear to me, and save me. Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety, for you are rock and my fortress. O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked. For you are my hope, O Lord, my trust, O God from my youth. On you I depend my birth; from my mother's womb, you are my strength. My mouth shall declare your justice, day by day your salvation. O God, you have taught me from my youth, and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds."
Psalm 71:1-2, 3-4a