Simple: pass it on

I was not a very well-behaved parent in church. When our five children were young enough that we all lived together and went to mass together, I used to amuse them (and myself) by poking the child next to me and whispering,”Pass it on.” It always worked; I could tell by the glare I got from my wife at the other end of the line. The message got through.

Today’s Scripture readings are like that childish game. God gives us a loving poke in the side, reminding us that our sins were forgiven by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. His expectation is that we will give ourselves in love to the person next to us, who is expected to love the next neighbor in line, and so on around the world. In the Gospel, Jesus suggests to his dinner host that next time, rather than inviting friends and family, he should invite poor people who have no way of repaying him. No way, that is, except to offer themselves in love to the next person they see. It’s the perfect form of evangelization, and it can transform the whole world. Pass it on.

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