Allan Kardec

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8. Jesus tells us that when we prepare a feast we should not invite our friends and relations, but instead the poor and the maimed. In their literal sense these words appear to be absurd. But if we understand their spiritual essence they are in fact sublime. It is not possible that Jesus intended us to invite the maimed and beggars from the streets to unite round our table instead of friends. His language was almost always figurative as the people of those times were not capable of understanding delicate shades of thought. Therefore it was necessary for Him to use strong words which could produce colourful images. Nevertheless, the essence of His thought is revealed is this sentence: "And thou shalt be blessed, for they cannot recompense thee." This means that we should not do good for a calculated reward, but only for the pleasure to be felt in so doing. Using a striking comparison, Jesus says: "Invite the poor to your feast because you know they cannot recompense you." By the use of the word 'feast' we should understand not the actual repast but a participation in the abundance generally enjoyed.

However, the warning can also be applied in a more literal sense. How many of you invite to your table only those who, as is said, will honour you or will return your invitation? On the other hand, there are others who find satisfaction in receiving friends and relations less fortunate than themselves. Well, how many amongst you have people like this in your family? In this way a great service can sometimes be done without it showing. These people put into practice the teachings of Jesus without recruiting the blind and the maimed only if they do so with benevolence, without ostentation, and if they know how to dissimulate the benefit by means of sincere cordiality.

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