August 2016 Proper 17
We all think
we’ve taken absolutely on board Jesus teaching in the Gospel about not taking
the best places. Just before meals, when the bell rings, there’s an “after
you Claude” race to get in last.
all so obvious, yet so easy to miss the real point.
the readings for today are carefully chosen to back up what Jesus teaches in the
Gospel but it’s not exactly about going in first, or last, it’s about pride.
or the wisdom of Jesus the son of Sirach, puts
it really clearly: “
the letter to the Hebrews: “Do
not neglect to show hospitality to strangers…. Do not neglect to do good and
to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God”.
People who have
a good education, who speak properly, who dress properly, get attention and
employment easily enough. When they come to test their vocation in religious
communities, they are welcome. People who have the right nationality, the
qualifications we need, the right passports, cross frontiers, get jobs,
without difficulty. However, children without parents are left in
wasn’t so different in Jesus’ own day, otherwise he would not have spoken
out. In Jewish as well as Pagan society, the maimed, lame and blind were
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
will be repaid”. That’s
what my aunt Mary used to call ”cutlet
for cutlet” entertaining.
“When you give a banquet, invite
the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind, because they cannot repay you,
for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous”.
has added the poor to
the traditional list. We know all this almost by heart but it is not so
easy to apply.
is the chorus of Standing In the Rain by (Sydney Carter)
in the rain, knocking on the window
Knocking on the window on a Christmas Day
Knocking on the window in the same old way
No use knocking on the
All the beds are booked already
use knocking on the window
Some are lucky, some are not, sir
We are Christian men and women
but we're keeping what we've got, sir
Antony Grant CR