“When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (Luke 14: 12 – 14)
When I read this passage I often think of my father’s godfather, who did just this. He was always willing to invite those in need to his home to dinner and often gave them a bed for the night. You and I today might object, saying: too dangerous, what about your liability, too risky, and so forth. But the Gospel, God’s word, still commands us to be brother and sister to the poor. This is a call to real radical conversion and a call to see ourselves and all that we have as a gift of God.
The catechism states:
2446 St. John Chrysostom vigorously recalls this: “Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life. The goods we possess are not ours, but theirs.”239 “The demands of justice must be satisfied first of all; that which is already due in justice is not to be offered as a gift of charity.”240: “When we attend to the needs of those in want, we give them what is theirs, not ours. More than performing works of mercy, we are paying a debt of justice.”241