In today’s first reading, Philippians 2: 1-4, St. Paul urges us to complete his joy—anyone’s joy—by “being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing. Do nothing,” he states, “out of selfishness or out of vain glory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his [or her] own interests, but also everyone for those of others.” In the Gospel, Luke 14: 12-14, Jesus challenges us to invite the crippled, the lame, the poor, and the blind to a meal rather than friends and family and relatives, who would be able to pay us back. In other words, love others, not out of our own interests but out of the interests of others. How difficult these challenges can be. By nature, we look for a return now, here on earth! It is difficult to do something purely out of altruistic attitudes. Our ego wants a reward now. We have a difficult time delaying the reward until we enter eternal life, or in Jesus’ words, until “the resurrection of the righteous.”
Lord, help us grow in doing for others for their sake and not for a reward from them or that they reciprocate our generosity. May we have the courage to reach out to those who are unable, for whatever reason, to return the favor! And may our craving for that kind of attention decrease, as we seek to please You and win Your approval in secret and in humility!