The voice of the Lord is directed towards all of us who are concerned with the necessities of life and, perhaps, have our mind on them alone. You might ask how we’re supposed to hear the Lord’s voice. Through the Gospel.
Today is the Sunday of the Forebears, two weeks before Christmas, and our holy Church brings to our attention the parable of the great banquet. A certain man prepared a great banquet and sent out his servant to his prospective guests, of whom there were many. ‘Come, for everything is now ready’. They all found excuses not to go to the meal, however. One said he’d just bought a field and wanted to go and see it; another that he’d bought five yoke of oxen and wanted to try them out; and yet another explained that he’d recently married and was unable to attend.
The servant returned and related all he’d heard to his master. The lord was furious and said: ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame’. When the servant returned and reported that there was still more room available, the master told him: ‘Go out to the roads and hedgerows and compel them to come in, so that my house may be full. I tell you, not one of those invited will taste my banquet. For many are called, but few are chosen’.
So let’s have a look, then, at the three men who were invited to the banquet but who all made their excuses. Why? Why, at that particular moment in time, did they have something to do and thus gave the same answer: ‘Please excuse me’. They were completely take up with what they’d recently acquired: a field, animals, a new way of life. The man giving the banquet is God. He asks and invites every person to be close to him. He invites each of us to the sacrament of the eucharist at every divine liturgy
Doesn’t this parable have something to do with us? With each of us. How, you might ask? Because we too, like the three men invited to the banquet, are attached to something. We can refuse Christ on account of our affairs. At every divine liturgy, at the great entrance, we hear the phrase: ‘Let us lay aside every care of this life’. Does this mean that we must deny this life and everything to do with it? Of course not.
To reject the cares of life means to reject all those features that hinder our contact with God. The most important is to cast off our egotism and to try to become united to Christ. To fill our hearts with love and joy for other people and for God.
Christ invites all of us to the banquet. Each of us has an invitation in our hand. Let’s not turn it down, as did the three men in the Gospel extract. Great feasts are coming, with many services. Let’s try and get to as many of them as possible. God doesn’t need us. God will be born whether we’re there or not. It’s us who can’t do without God. It’s us who need him in our life. Let’s accept the invitation and not make paltry excuses.