A few years ago I read a book entitled, Taking Jesus Seriously, by John Cowan. I recall agreeing with the author that we tend to rationalize away many of the things that Jesus said, and thus don’t really take him seriously. Just pay attention, what are the things that many religious people (we) wave their (our) arms about? Then ask yourself, did Jesus talk about these things? And then look at the overwhelming social needs in our country and world. Then ask yourself, what did Jesus say about this?
Today’s Gospel reading from Luke left me wondering.
On a sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees. 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 sisters 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, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
So, if I pay attention to my life, and the banquets and dinners I attend, I see tables of plenty. Then I ask myself, “Who is missing?” How do the guest lists match up with Jesus’ guest list, without my trying to rationalize it with giving time or money to a homeless shelter?
What will it cost me to really take Jesus’ words seriously? And how can we encourage one another to really do just that?