Scripture: Lectionary 486. Nov. 5. Romans 12:5-16. Psalm 131:1.2.3. Luke 14: 15-24:
Dinner talk is always a learning experience whenever we read of Jesus doing this in the Gospels, especially in Luke who has the most meals where Jesus is present with people representing all the different folks of his time. Normally these people would not gather with each other, but when Jesus is present, we find them there and the table talk usually is introduced by someone’s remark about Jesus being there with tax collectors, the poor, the sinners, etc. Jesus, however, is the one who uses these table gatherings for giving a parable that strikes the listeners at where they are presently and where they should be after hearing the parable. Paradoxes, contrasts, and strong statements often are within the parable or accompany the parable with further calls to grow into who we are meant to be when listening and journeying with Jesus.
It is one of the guests who is enthusiastic about Jesus being there on this occasion. So he takes the initiative by exclaiming how happy it will be when one dines at the kingdom banquet of God. Jesus then takes up this wish and talks about it in the ensuing parable that is an ongoing development of people being invited to a banquet of the master. It takes place in three stages: those who are expressly invited but give reasons for not coming to the banquet. They seem reasonable but do miss the great invitation of the Lord to the greatest of banquets. Then some are invited who are not too far away from the place of the banquet; they come. Finally, there is the command of the Lord to go out and bring everyone into the banquet—even those who are reached from afar in the hedges and highways. In the end, all are invited except those chosen ones who offered excuses for not coming.
I am sure each of us is touched by the message of the parable at the point in our life where we are. Jesus is calling us to grow deeper into his love and to accept the invitation to dine with him. If we have not been aware of the invite, we will be searched out and asked to come. Even those who seem far away will be brought in to the banquet of God.
I applied this to my invitation to the Eucharist and as a challenge to be more attentive to the invitation of the Lord to be fully there while not offering my excuses of boredom, tiredness, or just plain indifference. Amen.