One of those at table with Jesus said to him,
“Blessed is the one who will dine in the Kingdom of God.”
He replied to him,
“A man gave a great dinner to which he invited many.
When the time for the dinner came,
he dispatched his servant to say to those invited,
‘Come, everything is now ready.’
But one by one, they all began to excuse themselves.
The first said to him,
‘I have purchased a field and must go to examine it;
I ask you, consider me excused.’
And another said, ‘I have purchased five yoke of oxen
and am on my way to evaluate them;
I ask you, consider me excused.’
And another said, ‘I have just married a woman,
and therefore I cannot come.’
The servant went and reported this to his master.
Then the master of the house in a rage commanded his servant,
‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town
and bring in here the poor and the crippled,
the blind and the lame.’
The servant reported, ‘Sir, your orders have been carried out
and still there is room.’
The master then ordered the servant,
‘Go out to the highways and hedgerows
and make people come in that my home may be filled.
For, I tell you, none of those men who were invited will taste my dinner.’”
There is some history involved in this Gospel reading. The whole Bible is a love story between God and His people. In the Old Testament, God sent prophets to draw people back to Himself. But they killed or exiled most of the prophets.
So God sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, thinking that they would surely listen to Him. However, Jesus was rejected by most people and was crucified. Hence, in this story today, Jesus shares a parable about the first ones who were invited to the feast rejected the offer. They made many excuses about why they should be excused from the banquet.
So then the host sends his servants to invite everyone they can from the streets and alleys, the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame. This shows how the invitation to salvation goes out to everyone, especially the marginalized, the humble and the lowly. Sometimes our pride gets in the way of accepting the Lord’s invitation to His banquet.
The banquet is a great symbol of the heavenly banquet to which we are all invited. This notion of a heavenly banquet brings us to the Eucharist here on earth. Jesus gives of Himself daily in the Holy Eucharist. And when we receive His Body and His Blood in the Eucharist, we are participating in the Heavenly Banquet that never ends. When we sing, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord…”, we are singing with the angels and the saints in heaven (Revelation).
But sometimes we make excuses like the people in this Gospel as to why we don’t accept the Lord’s invitation to the banquet. We put other things atop our priority list. We have so many excuses…
I am too busy…
Once I get this promotion I will have more time for God…
We have sports activities on Sunday morning and I can’t make it to church…
The Church is full of hypocrites…
I don’t agree with some of the Church’s teachings…
What is my excuse to not attend church?
What is keeping me from freely accepting the Lord’s invitation to intimacy with Him at His banquet on earth?
What is my top priority?
Is there anything more important than eternity?
If you were to die tonight, would you be ready to meet Jesus face to face?
Jesus loves us and wants us to be with Him forever. The choice is up to us… Yes, we have seen problems and scandals in the Church. Problems have existed from the time of Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial, because we are all fallen human beings. But Jesus promised that the “netherworld would not prevail over the Church”. Come to the banquet of the Eucharist. Allow the Lord to enter your house, the house of your soul. Allow Jesus to transform you from the inside out.
Have a great day!