Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to [Jesus]. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them. –Luke 15: 1-2 (NRSV)
REFLECT | Poverty is not a sin; but any collection of the impoverished often includes those whom we associate with sin. While Jesus promises the poor will always be with us, in Luke’s gospel, a slew of Jesus’ parables promise even the “undeserving” end up paid, invited, fed, and found! Not only that, where people are impoverished, the Kingdom of God throws a party for them.
Frederick Beuchner observes: “God is the eccentric host who, when the country-club crowd all turn out to have other things more important to do, goes out into the skid rows, soup kitchens, charity wards—to bring home a freak show. The man with no legs who sells shoelaces at the corner. The woman in the moth-eaten fur coat who makes her daily rounds of the garbage cans. The wino with his pint in a brown paper bag. The pusher, the whore, the village idiot standing at the blinker light waving his hand as the cars go by. They are seated at the damask-laid table in the great hall—candles lit and champagne flutes filled. At a sign from the host, the musicians in their gallery strike up “Amazing Grace.” If you have to explain it, don’t bother.”
If we are not helping the poor, we are failing as followers of Jesus.
PRAY | Holy One, help us to find room at our table for all.