Monday of the 31st Week of the Year

Luke 14:12-14

Invite the Poor


When I was in Grade 1, writing names on the desks was considered a crime of vandalism. Then, while in Grade 3, I received my first communion in a chapel where names of donors were nicely written on the pews. Seeing those names, I struggled to understand the difference between the two. I began to understand that works of charity maybe done with mixed motives of self-interest, of feeling superior or an outflow of love.

A celebrated author writes that the uncontrollable outflow of love, a disinterested charity, is “the only real way to give. The law of the kingdom is this – that if a man gives to gain reward he will receive no reward; but if a man gives with no thought of rewards his reward is certain.” (Fr. Mio Sombrio, SVD Bible Diary 2002)


It was my 47th birthday and I decided to give myself a blowout in a famous restaurant. At the entrance there was a shabbily dressed young man carrying a shoeshine box. When he saw me looking at him, he aggressively beckoned me to have my sandals cleaned. It was a special day, so why not do something special? I had my sandals shined. While waiting, I suggested that he took lunch with me. His eyes lit up and was most happy to accept. He ate like a truck driver, and while eating he managed to keep on talking, as if he was the one sponsoring the meal. Part of his segue that I could still remember was, “You know, I have been waiting for the long time for someone like you who could give me a good job. Could you give me your address, I’ll call on you.” I did not give my address nor ever saw the man again.

The gospel today speaks of inviting people to share our blessings with them, without expecting repayment. I did, and almost got exploited and used. I could have felt disappointed and cheated on my birthday; I did, but a little only. For I believe that the point of Jesus is to allow ourselves to express and share our blessings spontaneously, without any hidden motive. When I give or do good, it is because I simply want to be true to my nature which is good. How the receiver reacts is beside the point. Of course, this does not forbid us to see to it that when we give, we should do so intelligently. To share and be true to our nature as God’s image has a bonus: “You will be repaid at the resurrection of the upright.” (Fr. Atilano Corcuera, SVD Bible Diary 2005)


One day I asked my students in theology how they could personally promote to themselves the importance of Sunday as the day of the Lord. Some proposed very good answers and suggestions, like they would prolong their meditation time or they would doubly prepare well for the Sunday Mass. One said that he would wear his best clothes the whole day to be keenly aware that he was God’s son. Another claimed that outing flowers on his study table would make him aware of God’s presence. There was one theologian, however, who presented a curious answer. He said, he would clean his room, wash some clothes and prepare his lesson early enough, so that in the evening he could watch the TV program, “Wow, Mali!”

One task of a Christian today is to be a “counter-culture” person. Simply put, he/she “counters” the world’s values with Christ’s. For instance, while the world promotes the culture of death and pleasure, the Christian should counter with the culture of life and sacrifice. While the world exalts power and money, the Christian promotes the culture of humility and detachment.

Both the first reading and the gospel speak of Christ’s ways:”…do nothing through rivalry or vain conceit. Let each of you gently consider the others as more important than yourselves. Do not seek your own interest, but rather that of others.”

Late one night I anointed a dying woman. After celebrating the sacrament of anointing I gently asked her, “Nanay, are you afraid to die?” Her answer was prompt, “No, Father. I am just a little worried about my grown up children whom I am leaving behind.” Clearly the sick woman was on the right direction and showed what culture she was following in life, not seeking her interest even in her last moments.

The gospel proposes another way of Christians. I tell them to make friends especially with the lowly people from whom they could not benefit materially.

The ways of Christ turn the world upside down. But it is a culture that leads to life, to healthy relationship, to unity and to heaven. Let us watch and pray that the world may not contaminate us with its culture. (Fr. Atilano Corcuera, SVD Bible Diary 2006)


Jesus seems very unrealistic. One big reason why one gives a party is because he wants to be with friends, to mingle with them and to make bonds of friendship become stronger. And here is Jesus telling us not to invite friends when we give parties. Such was my hasty judgment of the Lord’s mind when I read today’s gospel passage as a very young seminarian. Now I believe that I understand him better.

Indeed, real giving should be an outflow of one’s love. True love always overflows into sincere generosity. Love is not love until it is shared, I read this line somewhere. One who gives need not expect anything in return. We have to admit that this is easier said than done. However, we continue to strive to be givers expecting no reward from those we have given to. Christian life is a call to continually try to come nearer to the ideal which our Lord himself has set for us. He is the God who has given of himself expecting no return from us. (Fr. Emmanuel Menguito, SVD Bible Diary 2007)


October 31, 2016 Monday

Jesus gives us words to follow. He is our perfect example. A lot of people have tried to emulate his ways. My parish priest during my pastoral year was one of them. He was very generous, simple and compassionate. His regular guests were strangers, refugees, the sick and the poor. He always gave them his time, honest presence and help in many forms. I observed though that a lot of those who frequently came to him asking for help were just taking advantage of his goodness. Many of them were alcohol and substance dependents. I asked him one evening why he was doing what he was doing. He just smiled back and told me that he was helping them to make them feel that somebody was there for them even in their brokenness and woundedness and that he does not need to ask for anything in return.

He unsuspiciously allowed himself to be a present for others. It is consoling to know that we have Somebody whom we are allowed to come to, just as we are, without being judged. It is so beautiful that Somebody, whose goodness is unlimited – Jesus Christ – is there, in a world that asks us most of the time to give so that we may receive. We are allowed to come to him every time just as we are and we thank him for that. (Fr. Ritch Salinas, SVD | Germany (Bible Diary 2016)


Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Romans 11:29-36
Psalm 69:30-31, 33-34, 36
Luke 14:12-14

Daily Reflections from a Student’s Point of View

Today we are celebrating the feast of All the Saints and Blessed of the Society of Jesus. We are also observing the occasion chosen for worldwide promotion of Jesuit vocations. In the Epistle to the Romans Paul asks a question of special relevance for today’s feast.

“Who has known the mind of of the Lord or who ho has been his counselor?”

Surely we all agree with Paul that the ways of God’s providence are indeed inscrutable and unsearchable: How can a loving God permit a human condition that contains so much evil and so much innocent human suffering?

But Paul’s question prompts another question: Can we know the mind of God for our individual lives? Does God have a will for us individually? Does God call us to particular vocations?

Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, surely thought so. He included in his famous retreat manual (The Spiritual Exercises) a set of guidelines to foster discovering God’s will entitled “An Introduction to the Making of an Election.” Ignatius assumed that retreatants through prayer and reflection could discover God’s particular will for their lives. Indeed many scholars believe that Ignatius viewed discovering one’s personal calling from God free from all attachments as the primary purpose of The Spiritual Exercises.

From Ignatius’ time onward many have made The Spiritual Exercises seeking to discover and follow God’s will for their lives.

And some have even joined the Jesuits!

Today the Society of Jesus throughout the world is inviting young men to ask the question: Is God calling me to be a Jesuit?

I recall fifty years ago when the question of a Jesuit vocation was put to me in my senior year of high school. I resisted it fiercely, thinking the vocation demanded too much sacrifice — no marriage, no family, no material possessions. For me at that time a religious vocation was a call to a life that lacked normal human fulfillment; it seemed like a call to suffering. Who in their right minds would chose that?!

Yet recently when asked for my golden jubilee celebration to choose one word summing up my fifty years as a Jesuit, I chose the word Fullfillment. This is what I wrote:

“I cannot imagine a life of greater fulfillment than the one God gave me. . . Fifty years ago I could not have imagined a life of such richness. Indeed, before leaving home for the novitiate I remember telling my parents not to give my bedroom or my car to my sisters because I’d probably be unhappy and return in a couple of weeks. But I’m more convinced now than ever of what I teach and preach: Don’t be afraid to embrace God’s will! God’s will is our path to our most most effective service to others as well as to our deepest peace and fulfillment.”

We Christians have always acknowledged, at least in our best moments, that following God’s universal will as found in the teachings of Jesus and the Church is the surest way to true happiness and peace on this planet.

But I don’t believe that we Christians have equally acknowledged another truth: following God’s personal vocation for each of us — be that as married, single or priest-religious — is equally the path to deepest human fulfillment. God’s will for our lives need never be feared!

On this special Jesuit feast, I know that the 45 saints and and over 140 blessed of the Society of Jesus would join me in urging young men who are experiencing this call to say “Yes!”

It was the best decision we ever made; we all know you will never regret it.


WHY DO YOU GIVE? Why do people give?  Why do people do good things for other people? Unfortunately, our motivations are not always clear and good, unfortunately also, we are not always aware of the impurity of our motives. Why do people give and why do people do good things for other people?

The first motivation, unexpressed but very often un-admitted, is self-interest. We want to give because we want to get something in return, investment so to speak. We give something because we know that we will get something even more in return. It can come in business. Sometimes, it can also come in church, in prayer. We say, “I will spend 30 minutes at Mass everyday, and I know that I will receive blessings more than that, anyway.”

Another reason for doing things for other people is duty. We do it out of duty, without any fervor, without any tenderness. We just do it out of duty, as paid people.

Still another reason for doing good things for other people is superiority. This one is very bad because the beneficiary of the goodness ends up feeling so low, destroyed because the giver wants to feel superior over the other. We can give but we can diminish humanity. We can give and we can sat bad words. We can give and we can say nasty things. We can give and we can expect so much utang na loob from those who benefit from our “goon-ness.”

Why do we give? Some of our bad and impure reasons are unexpressed, sometimes difficult to admit. But today the Lord says to us that we must be generous recklessly. That’s the key word. Many of us can be generous but with generosity that is measured, generosity that makes sure that your cash balance is okay. But it is generosity that is reckless is the example of Jesus Himself. Who is that British playwright who said: “With reckless generosity, that pauper can live like a prince?” in other words, the key to happy, contented life is reckless generosity – generosity that throws its cares and concerns to the wind and allows God to provide for us, generosity that doesn’t care about how we could live, generosity that is careless, that is carefree, that is reckless. And we can live like princes because we can live without fear, and we can live in happiness. (Socrates Villegas, Love Like Jesus, pp. 180-181)


Of course, we find joy in sharing table with friends and relatives, especially with those who are good to us and close to us.. even Jesus shared meals with His dear Twelve disciples, and with the family of Martha and Mary. Jesus’ words in the gospel are hyperbole – they are exaggerated to bring home a point of teaching and realization. The realization is that real faith must make us share our goodness not only with those who are good and with those who have the ability to repay us, but real faith makes us share goodness with those who have nothing, no resources, no prestige, etc. We expect our repayment to be one that comes from the Lord.

We all know such a point of realization. The thing is, it is getting harder and harder to put this into practice. Today’s culture has made it more natural for us to suspect strangers with all kinds of evil motives! We fear that our being goods may be misread and even abused.

Let us then pray to the Lord to help us become men and women who still believe in the basic goodness that resides in each one – friends and strangers alike (Fr. Domie Guzman SSP New Every Morning New Everyday 2006 p. 318)


The words of Jesus in today’s gospel make us reflect the motives behind our generosity. What is generosity? It is the habit of giving freely without coercion. But there can be different motives behind our generosity.

We can be generous because we hope to get something back or we can be generous to be praised by others. But this is selfishness. We can be generous to feel superior. We can be generous because it is in our nature and we cannot help giving and sharing.  We can be generous out of gratitude that God was so generous to us and this is the best kind of generosity. After all, God gave first. He gave Himself unselfishly for us in and through His Son Jesus Christ. The mystery if the Incarnation is the ultimate demonstration of generosity.

God is the model of all generosity. Acts of giving help focus people’s hearts on the evidence of God’s grace and offer the world a new reason to praise Him. God gave first and because His gifts are boundless, eternal and beyond all earthly measure, God will give forever.

Generosity is sharing of one’s self and love to influence the world around us for the better. Already a small gift, the sharing of something little can have a tremendous effect on the people around us. Gautama Buddha rightly expressed this when he said, “Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” And Mohammed wrote, “A person’s true wealth is the he or she does in the world.”

On the last day of this month, let us join St. Ignatius of Loyola and pray his prayer for generosity:

“Lord, teach me to be generous. Teach me to serve you as You deserve; to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for reward, save that of knowing that I do Your will. Amen” Fr. Rudy Horst SVD SABBATH Scripture Meditation for Daily Life October 31, 2011 p.311)


November 5, 2012

St. Spinulus
Monday of the 31st Week

Phil 2:1-4
Ps 131
Lk 14:12-14

Lk 14:12-14
Invite the poor

[On a sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees.] 12He said to the host who invited him, “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. 13Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; 14blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”


They may invite you back. There is always a special reason for any celebration, party, common lunch or dinner. It may be held to showcase a significant achievement, to foster friendship, to strengthen family relationship, etc. As is always the case, there is the unwritten rule of reciprocity: we throw a party while expecting to be invited by others, to receive something in exchange, or to return a favor. Jesus suggests that we go beyond this.

The true Christian attitude must itself extend beyond the confines of hosting a lunch or dinner or banquet. Jesus tells us that in all areas of life, we must be gracious and generous. We must do good deeds without thinking of or expecting a payback. We must not be preoccupied with recompense, remuneration, commission, or interest gained.

We do good works out of love. We share not because we seek praise, recognition, or reciprocal relationship. It is God whom we want to please, not other people. We are not after something in return. We only want to share the goodness of God.

To counter the desire to be rewarded for doing a good work, what steps do you take?
Have you been an anonymous donor to or sponsor of a charitable project?


MONDAY OF THE 31ST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR A) LUKAS 14:12-14. Kinsa man ang una natong tabangan sa atong mga kaigsoonan? Si Kristo miingon: “Kon magkombira ka, maoy dapita ang mga kabus, mga bakol, mga piang, ug mga buta, ug mabulahan ka kay dili man sila makabalos kanimo. Baslan ka ra sa Dios inigkabanhaw sa mga matarong.” Gisulti kini ni Hesus dili tungod kay supak siya sa paghimo’g kombira uban sa mga higala. Gani, siya nagtambong man sa mga hikay nga gipasiugdahan sa iyang mga kahigalaan. Ang iyang tuyo dinhi mao ang pagtudlo sa kabililhon sa pagbuhat og maayo ngadto sa uban nga dili magpaabot og balos. Kon kita maghatag uban sa paglaom nga kita balosan, sama ra nga wala kita mohatag. Pinaagi ning ebanghelyo kita gidasig nga motabang sa mga kabus tungod kay gamay lang ang ilang katakos ug dako ang ilang panginahanglan.Posted by Abet Uy


Sunday, October 30, 2016

MONDAY OF THE 31ST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME – LUKAS 14:12-14. KINSA MAN ANG UNA NATONG TABANGAN SA ATONG MGA KAIGSOONAN? Si Kristo miingon: “Kon magkombira ka, maoy dapita ang mga kabus, mga bakol, mga piang, ug mga buta, ug mabulahan ka kay dili man sila makabalos kanimo. Baslan ka ra sa Dios inigkabanhaw sa mga matarong.” Gisulti kini ni Hesus dili tungod kay supak siya sa paghimo’g kombira uban sa mga higala. Gani, siya nagtambong man sa mga hikay nga gipasiugdahan sa iyang mga kahigalaan. Ang iyang tuyo dinhi mao ang pagtudlo sa pagbuhat og maayo ngadto sa uban nga dili magpaabot og balos. Kon kita maghatag uban sa paglaom nga kita balosan, sama ra nga wala kita mohatag. Tabangan nato ang mga kabus tungod kay gamay lang ang ilang katakos ug dako ang ilang panginahanglan. Ang Panultihon 14:31 nag-ingon, “Whoever is kind to the needy honors God”. Posted by Abet Uy


HAPPY TO SERVE-A story was told about St. Lawrence, whose faith, poverty and love for the poor were exemplary. The king heard of the various riches the church had: chalices, candle holders, images and other paraphernalia made of gold. Tempted, he called Lawrence and commanded him to surrender these riches. To his surprise, Lawrence said yes immediately. With alacrity, Lawrence gathered all the sick, the lame, crippled, blind, deaf and every outcast, and brought them before the king. The king was taken aback by the presence of these people in his kingdom. He got very angry and asked Lawrence why he brought those people instead of the church’s riches. Lawrence replied, “Your Highness, these people you see are the riches of the Church!” For that, the king brought Lawrence to die via the iron grill.

We can see why, in the Gospel, Jesus preferred that the poor and the sick be invited for dinner. They, being the riches of the church, should be the object of our concern. Jesus wanted us to be charitable, but charity is not just giving. It should also be given to the proper receiver.

I have a friend who is very generous to a fault. He just gives and does not bother how the receiver uses his donation. But that is not enough. The responsibility includes seeing to it, as much as we can, that the goods entrusted to us, which we also entrust to others, are used well. In that way, the opportunity to do an act of charity is fulfilled.

Another aspect of Jesus’ command is that when we share our resources with the poor, we do not expect them to return the favor. We normally expect to receive something for our good deeds, but with the poor, we are to give without expecting anything in return. That is authentic and total giving.

Let us make sure that we help to serve. Charity is already a reward in itself. If some reward will come, thanks be to God. But we should not seek it out and account our beneficiary for that. At best, we help just by thinking that we are helping “the poor.” In the process, we do not expect anything in return but are just happy to serve. Fr. Benny Tuazon

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: What is your motivation for giving? Do you give selectively and only to the people whom you like or who can return the favor?

Lord Jesus, form my heart with Your brand of charity. Help me to give without counting the cost and without expecting anything in return.


THE PINK HOUSE-Rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also everyone for those of others. – Philippians 2:3-4

“Ha, ha, ha!” laughed his neighbor. “A pink house, dude? You must be out of your mind? I would never let my wife dictate me like that.”

“You don’t understand. My wife says she feels happy whenever she sees pink. When she’s happy, I’m happy,” the man explained.

It’s human nature to want to have everything our way. However, dying to one’s preferences for the good of another is a virtue. Mothers would eat the less tasty portions so their children can get the choicest parts of the chicken. Fathers would play parlor games even if they look silly because their kid asked to play with them. Friends would stay up late, foregoing much needed rest, to console a pal who is having work or relationship problems. Wives would choose to do the laundry by hand even if it would ruin their manicures so that their husbands’ uniforms will be cleaner and be more presentable. Husbands would endurewatching a chick flick instead of going out with their buddies so their wives can watch their favorite movie star.

All these they do out of love.

So should you. Jun Asis (

Reflection: One of the greatest signs of love is choosing an option for the benefit of another, even if it’s something other than what you prefer.

Lord, grant me the grace to desire what is best for my neighbor before my own interest.


THE BLESSING IN NOTHINGNESS – When you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be… – Luke 14:13-14

The phrase “sa awa ng Diyos” (by God’s mercy) is a Filipino expression that shows how much we rely on the Lord’s grace. It’s a phrase the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind know by heart. They are the ones whose needs are beyond  what they can attain. The next best thing is to rely on God.

Sadly, when we are self-sufficient, we sometimes forget how it is to need and rely on God’s provision and grace alone.

During the apostolic visit of Pope Francis in the Philippines, he said that we have to learn how to beg. The Pontiff explained that while it is admirable to give, we must also know how to receive, especially from those whom we help — the street children, the sick, the orphans. It may seem like they’re not capable of giving anything, but the best they can probably give us is to teach us how to find the blessing in nothingness.

Receive from those whom you help, and be reminded that even in nothingness, we can find God. When we do find Him, we realize we have everything we need. Veia Lim (

Reflection: When was the last time you found the blessing in nothingness?

Heavenly Father, in my deepest need, help me see with the eyes of faith. I believe Your grace and provision will see me through.


YOU SHALL LOVE – “What is love?” is the most frequently asked question. To better understand what it is, let us turn to the ancient Greeks and Hebrews for a bit of help.

When we speak of love in the Greek language, eros refers to sexual passion and desire. Philia is deep friendship which entails loyalty and sacrifice for a friend. Ludus is the childish expression which includes flirting, courtship and the so-called puppy love. Agape is best understood as selfless love which one has for others, regardless of relationship.Pragma is mature love that couples share with each other. Philautia is self-love. Storge is the love which members of the family share with one another. Hebrew words for love are also rich with meaning. Ahab refers to the love among people or between the created and the Creator. Ahabah, from the root wordahab, refers to the love solely for human object. Hesed is understood as the love of someone of a higher stature for someone inferior. Habab is God’s love in relation to His people. Hashaq is the kind of love that shows our connection to the object of our desire.

From the rich Greek and Hebrew vocabulary, we now understand that for love to be real love, it has to be expressed as an action.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus said, “When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Here, He is referring to love in action particularly selfless love — agape. The Lord encourages us to love without counting the cost. When we love, we should not expect anything in return, although as social beings we also have the need to feel loved. Otherwise, if we love so that we too may be loved, then that ceases to be love. It is called investment. When the Lord said, “You shall love,” He is asking us to perform acts of love selflessly. Fr. Sonny Cotiamco

REFLECTION QUESTION: How can you show your love to a stranger today?

Lord, You taught us by example what true love it. May I show it to the people around me every day. Amen.


October 31, 2016

In today’s first reading the apostle Paul gives a piece of advice which might appear completely idealistic and impossible to implement in real life: “Consider the others as more important than yourselves.” But is Paul’s advice so unrealistic?

Let us consider first this unde­niable fact: every person I meet has a particular talent, knowledge, ability, skill that I do not have. For example, I may be a first-class linguist or mathe­matician or jurist or teacher—yet I do not know how to change a flat tire or how to repair a cellphone, how to bake a pie or how to sew a dress, how to drive a twelve-wheeler or how to fly a plane. The list of the things that other people can do better than I can is practically endless.

And then there is the spiritual state of other people. If I think ­seriously about my past sins in comparison with all the graces that I have received, I cannot evaluate my status before God. So how on earth will I have the gall to think that I am better than the next person—even the worst criminal? No, Paul is right. Let us play it safe and look up to everyone we meet.


See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Monday of the 31st Week of the Year

This entry was posted in .. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s