The author of this gospel wants us to hear both sides of this story equally and not just one. The author of this gospel doesn’t want to sugar coat it for us… Because the author sees two clear choices… we can continue living in the old ways of the world which have failed us and caused suffering time after time, we can be people of pharasaic faith… or we can choose to accept the invitation, we can choose to live in the new ways of God’s kingdom… which are life giving… which bear fruit, which spread God’s love into the world… we can choose to live life in a way that promotes life, or in a way that causes us to suffer.
But in God’s kingdom, there’s no measuring ourselves against each other. What’s the point? “In the kingdom,” Craddock says, “God is the host, and who can repay God?” If we are always guests, who are we to make any claims, set any conditions, expect any return?
And as for poor people, or lame or crippled or blind people, as Fred Craddock points out, Jesus is saying more than we may want to hear. “Care of the poor and the disabled” is core to both the Jewish and Christian traditions. But Jesus is not calling on Christians to provide for the needs of the poor and the disabled; he says to invite them to dinner….
The word translated ‘hospitality’ means, literally, ‘love of a stranger.’…
Nor does the text speak of sending food to anyone; rather, the host and the guest sit at table together. The clear sign of acceptance, of recognizing others as one’s equals, of cementing fellowship, is breaking bread together. In the Christian community no one is a ‘project.’
In the Christian community, no one is a project.