Divine Reversal – Christopher Ketley

Protocols! Life is full of written and unwritten regulations of how we should behave and conduct ourselves. The Red Tape can feel suffocating at times, as we grapple with how things should be done according to our society, and the regulations laid down to ensure our safety.

Jesus tells us a Parable about a banquet whilst sharing a meal with some Pharisees on the Sabbath . The word Sabbath should give us a clue that this will be no straight forward teaching. In fact, it will be a re-emphasis of St. Luke’s gospel theme of ‘Divine Reversal’! Divine Reversal teaches us about the priorities of the kingdom over those of the world. God sees His Creation with very different eyes, and this simple teaching emphasises that difference.

At first glance, it could almost be a story of manners, and etiquette.
“[Jesus} noticed how the guests chose the places of honour…”
He taught “when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place…” So that your host may say “friend, move up higher.”

The lesson though is much deeper than that! We learn of God’s priorities for the disadvantaged and the outcasts of society. “When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.” Jesus wants us to invite those who cannot return our hospitality. He is telling us how we should share our good fortune with those in need. Society, today, is very good at alienating people because they are different from us: it could be due to where we come from, being disabled in some way, our opinions, our faith etc. The list sadly appears endless.

The Good News is that the kingdom’s values are ‘we are all the same’ in God’s sight. We know this through our baptism and the way God (Jesus) shared our humanity, and was tested in the way you and I are. So where is the Divine Reversal? The reversal comes with God’s preference for the poor and the marginalised. All are welcome at the banquet. There is a place for everyone! Irrespective of who you are.
“Come here, all you who are thirsty, come to the water!
All who have no money, come!
Yes, without money and at no cost, buy and drink wine and milk .”
Mary’s Song in Luke’s gospel also emphasis’ this reversal:
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.

So where does this leave you and me?
We have to show our preference for God and Divine Reversal. Dom Delatte has the answer:
“Worldly people generally demand a life without troubles; true Christians courageously take their portion of the dose of hidden bitterness God mixes into their life in order to put them in a position where they must lean on Him. You will never have perfect peace; there will always be hard rubs and tribulations. It is certainly not by eliminating these annoying details that we will find peace; on the contrary, it is by accepting them in tranquillity and making a gentle effort to lean upon God. You are simply serving your apprenticeship as a creature.”

May God continue to bless you in your apprenticeship, as you work for His kingdom, and make present to others His Divine Reversal!

With love in Christ
Christopher