30th Week in Ord. Time, Friday – 30th October 2020 — Gospel: Lk 14,1-6
Accepting Social Elite Honours
Luke’s gospel has a special emphasis to meal settings, in which he describes Jesus eating with everyone, whether they are tax collectors, or sinners, or religious leaders. Although Pharisees dispute with Jesus and sometimes express hostility toward him, Jesus continues to engage and dine with them. In fact, Luke 14,1 is the third dinner invitation Jesus accepts from a Pharisee (Lk 7,36-50; 11,37-43). This kind of collegiality and friendship can be difficult to understand, especially in a rigid religious and political situation of Jesus’ day. None can forget the complex relationship Jesus has with Pharisees in many instances. Some Pharisees felt that Jesus should have a distant relationship with ‘sinners and tax collectors’ that did not involve meals and foot washing (Lk 5,29-32; 7,34.36-50). Other Pharisees expected Jesus to wash his hands before all meals, not to heal desperate folks on Sabbath (Lk 6,6; 13,11), and not to allow his disciples to harvest and prepare food on the Sabbath (Lk 5,33-39; 6,1-5; 11,37-43). Yet, at times, the Pharisees were also amazed that Jesus could heal and forgive sins, and some even warned Jesus when Herod wanted to kill him (Lk 5,17-26; 13,31). Therefore, some suggest, because of the frequent invitations, Jesus must have been a Pharisee himself. Knowing that the Pharisees and the lawyers were watching him closely, of what they were thinking, and of how they will respond, Jesus accepts the invitation for a feast with the leader of the Pharisees on the Sabbath. It is an invitation he did not refuse, as it is a feast for the social elite of the hierarchy. Perhaps this special invitation is for the wise, influential and admired Rabbis like Jesus. However, Jesus’ primary intention was to open their hearts to see what God is doing through him. And he was focused to set free those in bondage so that all can enter into God’s kingdom and share in God’s banquet.