Monday 6 November 2023

About Today Readings

Romans 11:29-36. Lord, in your great love, answer me – Psalm 68(69):30-31, 33-34, 36-37. Luke 14:12-14.

Everything is better this way

A beautiful instruction, disarming in its simplicity. Jesus seems to be implying this should be an automatic social reflex rather than a once-off. Having a party? Invite people from the bottom of the social hierarchy. It would be easy to discuss this passage in the abstract and explore how kindness is intentional, non-reciprocal in nature, and requires being aware of people and their gradations of fortune. But the instruction is so concrete. ‘Invite socially vulnerable people to dinner or lunch.’ Recognise someone’s dignity and worth to the extent that they are deserving of an invitation to dinner. That’s such a beautiful idea, and seems somehow emblematic of the whole point to all of this. Paradoxically, Jesus does include an appeal to self-interest: a promise of reward at the resurrection of the righteous. Given the point of the passage seems to be ‘decouple kind acts with hopes of reciprocation,’ it appears unnecessary. He could have just said, do this because everything is better this way.

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