Who do You Invite to Dine with You?

First Reading: 1 TM 4:12-16

Responsorial Psalm: PS 111:7-8, 9, 10

Gospel:LK 7:36-50

 

Last year when I started my graduate degree, life was not at all what I expected. My sweet Grandpa passed away, my family was sort of beside ourselves with such a profound loss, and the season of life that presented itself with more changes than consistencies left me hurting in a way that I hadn’t before. 

I remember making my hour drive down to classes, always starting with a Rosary, a simple invitation of The Lord, and Our Mother, to enter into my day. But very quickly, this became a rushed habit. I wanted to get it done as quickly as possible so I could put my music back on and actually enjoymy ride to school. Because, obviously, Beyoncé would take me further through the pain than The Lord ever could. My custom of quickly getting through my morning commute Rosary started to manifest itself in most other prayer habits I had until eventually, my relationship with Him started to reflect, just the same, a rushed habit. 

Reading the gospel from today, I see myself so much like the Pharisee, in that he “invited Jesus to dine with Him.” I was doing that! I was inviting Him in, every morning, every time I prayed. I was inviting Him in and racing through our time together, thinking “this is surely enough.” But despite this, the pain didn’t seem to let up, and I could not find the same peace that had carried me through other trying seasons of life. In my contemplating of this constant unrest, I would justify my lack of commitment and intentionality with Him by reminding myself of my sheer busyness. Little did I realize, my racing through our time together only led to my inability to let Him into where I needed His healing. 

And, while clearly this is not how any edifying relationship is formed, there is some good here. I, like the Pharisee, was seeing something greater in Christ than in my own self, knowing that He should, at the very least, be someone I am near to. And, I, too, was allowing Him to enter into some guarded version of my heart. Better than nothing, right? 

But the thing is, Our Lord, who is so good to us that He would never force His love, the beautiful gift He has for us, onto our hearts, desires a continuous invitation. And, He will not enter the next space until we invite Him into it. 

This gospel reading so clearly emulates what that looks like when our “yes, come in Lord” becomes a consistent welcoming, a consistent invitation, a consistent vulnerability. The sinful women in the city, did not “neglect the gift [she had],” (1 TM 4:14) but instead, ran to Him and, weeping, invited Him in, and in return, He says to her, “your faith has saved you, go in peace” (LK 7:50). 

In this stunning encounter of the depth of mercy and forgiveness the Lord gifts to a contrite and sincere heart, the contrast between the experience of the woman and of the Pharisee is stark. But in both situations, the common denominator is Christ. He never dictated that the Pharisee should not receive forgiveness of his sins, salvation, or peace, but responded to the love the Pharisee was giving Him. 

 The Lord is desiring to enter into each of our hearts. He is always waiting for us to invite Him deeper and deeper into our souls. When we can bring ourselves to trust in Him and show Him this vulnerability, He will match it tenfold, as He so beautifully proves, each time we turn back to Him. 

-Rachel Iacobucci

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