Jesus has some pretty clear words on dinner etiquette in last Sunday's reading. He not only tells us where to sit, but also tells us who to invite the next time we throw a party:12He said also 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 neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. 13But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. 14And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
I think we miss lots of opportunities to invite the poor, the cripppled, and the lame to eat with us. It's hard, becaue it you are like me, you want your home to be a safe place, a castle away from the world, a refuge. And if we start inviting people over, who knows if they will stop? I think we should take Jesus seriously though. Maybe we need to work our way up to it. Try dropping off a gallon of milk or a dozen eggs for a neighbor that might need them. Put some of your extra tomatoes out on your porch with a free sign. Cook extra and take it to the guy who lives by himself next door.
I always give a few dollars to folks asking for money alongside the road. Some people think that might be irresponsible, but Jesus said, "Give to all who ask of you," not "Give to the poeple who you think really need it and won't spend it on drugs or booze." But I wonder too, if that would be a more human interaction if I had a tuna snack pack or something to share, something more tangible than just a few paper bills.
Perhaps it is in inviting the poor to eat with us that we discover our own poverty of spirit, and discover those poor, needy areas that Jesus loves so desperately.