Podcast Reflections

Reflection on Luke 14.12-14 (2022 Week 31)

Listen to a reflection for DEL Week 31: Monday, 31 October 2022, on Luke 14.12-14

Luke 14.12-14

Jesus said to the one who had invited him, ‘When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbours, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.’


Every time I read this passage I find myself thinking of the quid pro quo attitude of so many people when it comes to the matter of hospitality, and generosity in general. How many people keep Christmas card lists, for example. You know the sort I mean. The ones that lead to comments such as: I’m not sending him or her a card this year because they didn’t send me one last year! Similarly, those who are tardy in reciprocating hospitality find themselves excluded from the ‘dinner party circuit’. We spend so much time and effort in ‘managing’ the ways in which we offer and respond to acts of kindness and generosity. This very issue is addressed by Jesus in today’s reading.

Jesus’ teaching could not be clearer: … do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbours, in case they invite you in return, and you would be repaid. The model Jesus gives us is one of open-handed and open-hearted generosity. Furthermore, Jesus makes it clear that such generosity should never be offered with the expectation of its being returned.

An example of the generosity Jesus describes can be found in the way many throw open their doors at Christmas. Up and down the country there are many people who live alone, or are without a home at all. Charities, churches and individuals strive to offer some Christmas cheer for such people on that day when so many are wallowing in over-indulgence. This is the generosity of which Jesus speaks.

Sadly, this ‘invasion’ of our personal space is anathema to so many. Christmas, the moment when God’s generosity breaks through into our mortal world, is turned into a time of meanness of spirit. This meanness of spirit is seen in Charles Dickens’ famous novel: A Christmas Carol. The character of Ebenezer Scrooge has become synonymous with meanness of spirit. But, the fictional Scrooge is not alone. So many of us share in his miserliness.

Let us pray that we might let the spirit of loving generosity break through our barriers of self-interest. Let us pray that we might seek to share the love of Christ with all, and especially with those who will never be able to offer any kind of repayment. Let us pray that we might join the whole company of saints who, down the ages, have lived unswervingly according to the teaching of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.