In school, our kids hung out with friends on the fringe, and our custom was for my wife to cook what became known as the Great Spaghetti Sunday Dinner. The kids invited any friends—the hungry, the poor, the unhoused (i.e., couch surfers), Black and White. They were served huge bowls of spaghetti and Mom’s special pasta sauce, and we were blessed by the empty bowls and spaghetti-stained faces, but mostly by their presence.
In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus chided the wealthy man for his selfish guest list, inviting only the well-to-do and the well-heeled. ” Invite the poor, the lame, the outcast.. with no hope of repayment, and you shall be blessed.”
Paul takes this a notch higher. He is in prison again, with time to write, and he encourages his flock to be “humble in mind…preferring others over themselves.” Then he slides into High Pauline Theology,
citing a well-known poem: “God emptied himself—taking the form of a slave—being humbler yet, accepting death on the Cross.” Such is the Divine radical preference for the poor! “And he was raised up.”
So, I wonder, for each of us: when are we blessed? How are we raised up?
David Peter Folkes is a former Passionist Priest who resigned and married with 2 children and 2 grandchildren living in Chicago. He is mostly involved with refugee resettlement and racial equity issues.