One of my favorite Pope Francis stories is when he celebrated his 77th birthday in 2013 by inviting three homeless men (and their dog) to share breakfast with him. This took place the week after Time magazine named Pope Francis as their person of the year. I imagine that there were plenty of well-connected, powerful, and famous people who would have been happy to join Pope Francis for a meal on his birthday. But Francis chose to turn the values of our society upside down by inviting those whom our society deems as the least important to a place of honor at his table. Isn’t this the same thing that Jesus is inviting us to do in today’s gospel?
Pope Francis has asked the Society of Jesus to “focus on the peripheries.” Who are the people living on the peripheries in our homes, schools, workplaces, local and global communities? How can we invite them to a place of honor at our tables?
—Dave Lawler is the Director of Campus Ministry at Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, NE.