The gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. Just as you were once disobedient to God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience, so they have now been disobedient so that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy. For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all.
O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! "For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?" "Or who has given a gift to him, to receive a gift in return?" For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.
As for me in my poverty and pain
let your help, O God, lift me up.
I will praise God's name with a song;
I will glorify him with thanksgiving. (R./)
The poor when they see it will be glad
and God-seeking hearts will revive;
for the Lord listens to the needy
and does not spurn his servants in their chains. (R./)
For God will bring help to Zion
and rebuild the cities of Judah
and men shall dwell there in possession.
The Sons of his servants shall inherit it;
those who love his name shall dwell there. (R./)
Jesus said to his host, one of the leading Pharisees, "When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbours, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."
In coversation with a wealthy Pharisee who had invited him to a meal, Jesus offers unexpected advice. The Pharisees tended to eat only with their own kind, but he says it would be good to include some guests from far outside their social circle. Jesus himself ate meals with all sorts of people, with the rich and the poor, with the educated and uneducated, with religious people and others who were branded as sinners, with women as well as men. This hospitality and table fellowship marked his whole ministry. He did not exclude anyone from his circle, but showed the year of God's mercy to everyone, especially to those most in need of that mercy.
By his whole lifestyle, including his choice of table companions, Jesus taught the loving hospitality of God. In contrast, the Pharisees notion of God was of a Judge who wanted to sentence more people than he acquitted. We are meant to reveal something of the hospitality of God by our own social habits. We can be unconsciously snobbish in our ways, and socialise exclusively with people who share our outlook, attitudes and interests. Maybe we should widen our circle so that it reflects the expansive heart of God as shown by Jesus.