November 03, 2020 (Tuesday of Week 31 Year II: St Martin de Porres)
Hold me excused
Dear friends in Christ, St Martin de Porres whose memorial we celebrate today, was a son of a Spanish nobleman and a black ex-slave woman. He received Christian upbringing from the mother and became a lay brother of the Dominican Order, where he spent the rest of his life working for the poor and the sick. He had great devotion to the Eucharist and he is the Patron saint of people of mixed races, barbers, innkeepers, public health workers and all those seeking racial harmony.
In our first reading today (Philippians 2:5-11) Paul calls on his listeners to follow the example of Christ, “Have this mind among yourselves…” This mind is what he says was in Christ Jesus and he went further to talk about the humility of Jesus who did not cling to his equality with the Father but humbled himself by accepting to take on the human nature and was humble even to accepting death on the Cross to set us free from the bondage of sin and death. Paul says for this reason, he has been exalted above all and so “every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of the Father.” What is your boast? Is there anything you have that has not been seen before? Humility should be the cloak of honour for all who genuinely seek to follow Christ.
In the gospel of today (Luke 14:15-24) Jesus uses another parable of a feast to describe peoples attitude to the invitation to God’s kingdom. Those who were originally invited to the feast did not come. They had excuses at the last minute—“I have bought a field…I have bought five yoke of oxen…I have married a wife…” The man in anger ordered that his servants make it an open celebration by making sure the hall is filled with passers-by, “Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and maimed and blind and lame.” The poor and disadvantaged of the society to the rescue. These people did not proffer excuses, even though they’ve not had long notices, they were ready and the hall was filled. The man declared that, “None of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.” This is a warning to those who were listening to Jesus, on the implication of their attitude to his message. This story had been told in the house of a Pharisee, who invited Jesus to dinner, where some were struggling for the choicest seats, which prompted him to teach them humility in waiting for the organisers to call them up, rather than be disgraced. He also told the one who invited him, to learn to feast the disadvantaged of the society. Ordinarily, no one is qualified for the feast in the kingdom of God, the invitation extended to us all is a matter of God’s mercy and grace. To give excuses instead of accepting this invitation, because of business, marriage and earthly commitments could have terrible consequences. Let those who have ears, listen.
Let us pray: O God, open our hearts to accept your word and give us the grace to accept your invitation to the eternal banquet. Amen. May the Almighty God bless you, the Father and the Son and the Holy spirit. Amen.