From Seeds of Trust
One of the dinner guests, on hearing this, said to him, “Blessed is anyone who will eat bread in the Kingdom of God!” Then Jesus said to him, “Someone gave a great dinner and invited many. At the time for the dinner he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come; for everything is ready now.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, “I have bought a piece of land, and I must go out and see it; please accept my regrets.’ Another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please accept my regrets.’ Another said, ‘I have just been married, and therefore I cannot come.’ So the slave returned and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and said to his slave, ‘Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ And the slave said, ‘Sir, what you ordered has been done, and there is still room.’ Then the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the roads and lanes, and compel people to come in, so that my house may be filled.’” (Luke 14:15-23)
How many times was Jesus confronted with the questions: What is God’s kingdom like? How can we enter it? People’s expectations were so different: will this kingdom come with power, or is it always put off till later, like a longed-for promise?
“One of the dinner guests said to Jesus….” Here again we are at a meal, as so often in Saint Luke’s Gospel. Jesus is the one who eats with us. How can people be closer than to be seated at the same table? And so Jesus will use this image to explain how God waits for us and invites us.
In the Gospel According to Saint Matthew, the meal is a wedding banquet for the son of a king. How is it possible that the invited guests could have forgotten the date? They are invited twice. How can they put their own business first, even if it is important, when this meal represents the most essential event for the future of the kingdom? It is the poor, the lame, and the blind who are able to accept the invitation and enter into God’s joy, because they cannot take care of their own business; they are dependent on others for everything. Jesus is close to death, and so perhaps feels even closer to all who are abandoned and forgotten. He understands that, through his resurrection, all humanity will be able to welcome God’s love.
In the face of incomprehensible forgetfulness, and even at times refusal, Jesus reveals the image of the Father’s generosity. All people are invited to be part of this communion, and it is through this incredible gift that the kingdom is revealed.
- How can we recognize those times when God’s kingdom becomes manifest, when communion becomes possible with Christ and with others?
- The festive meal is offered without conditions. How can we remain open and enter day-after-day into the joy that is offered to us?
Christ Jesus, even if your resurrection only kindled a tiny flame within us, it would enable us to live in communion with you. And by your gospel we realize that you came to Earth not just for part of humankind but for all human beings, even if they are unaware of your presence within them.