Pastor’s Weekly Message 8-28-22

Dear Friend of Carmel Mission,
Today’s Gospel begins with a well-known parable in which Jesus advises the wedding guest to downplay their own importance so that the host has the opportunity to elevate them.  He cautions them against putting themselves in the awkward and possibly humiliating position of being asked to move down the table to accommodate someone more important – good advice in a wide range of situations!

Human society is incredibly transactional. Most human interaction, and certainly most casual social interaction between people has something of a transactional nature. Even with our families and among our close friends, expectation can creep in to what we hope are unconditional relationships.  This is the complete opposite of God’s nature, and of what we can expect in God’s Kingdom. God does not need or demand anything of us in exchange for His overwhelming love and the great gift of salvation.

These are available to all of us, whether or not we accept God’s generous invitation. This is good news for us, because we could never repay God for His generosity, and we have nothing to offer that could possibly compare. When Jesus encourages us to invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame to our banquet table it is not so that we can curry favor with God for our own generosity, but rather so that we can come to a deeper understanding of God by imitating how God engages with His creation.

Think of a time you experienced someone’s completely unexpected generosity. I recently had such a moment when I was out and about early in the morning, not having the best day, waiting in line for a coffee when the person in front of me offered to buy everyone’s drink of choice. I could have easily bought my own coffee, but this act of generosity from a complete stranger brightened my day. It was a good reminder that when we have the opportunity to be the generous host we should seize it. Not only does it bring us closer to God but it also helps us catch of glimpse of what awaits us in God’s Kingdom.

 I wish you and your loved ones blessings of good health, great hope, and the surprising kindness of strangers,

Fr. Paul

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