We Are Invited to God’s Banquet
28th Sunday in Ordinary Time: October 15, 2017
A story is told about a man who died and found himself before the pearly gates of heaven. The man was very confident that St. Peter would let him in because he had led a good life. He believed in God, he went to church; he tried to follow the commandments. So St. Peter meets him at the gates, looks over his record and sure enough, invites him in.
The first person he meets is another guy he knew from high school. Our friend was shocked, “How did he get in here?” he wondered; he was not a nice person in high school. And then one by one, our friend met other people in heaven, none of whom he ever liked on earth.
Completely baffled, the man went over the St. Peter and said, “I’m a bit confused here,” he said, “Those people were not very nice to me on earth. I was just wondering how they got in here?”
“That’s funny,” St. Peter replied, “They just asked me the same thing about you.”
Nothing spoils a banquet faster than the inability of the guests to enjoy each other’s company. One hostess tells of a dinner party intended to introduce Tom, a close friend from another city, to the closest hometown friends. “It never occurred to us that two people we love would NOT like each other. But Tom and Bill were a sour combination. All evening long they baited each other, argued with each other, and made everyone uncomfortable. I’ll never invite them to the same party again.”
God has the same problem. We were put on this earth as children of one family, and look at how we get along, or should I say look how we don’t get along. But God is more optimistic than the hostess. God keeps on inviting the same people to the same banquet. Remember the Gospel parable is about the kingdom of God. Imagine spending eternity seated at the same table an individual or group you find it hard to be with here and now? With whom do you need to be at peace?
Maybe this is what today’s Gospel is all about. Some folks in the gospel were invited to the banquet but refused to come. Why? What was their excuse? Maybe they were overwhelmed by the pressures of earning a living and running a household. Maybe they were too busy with the kids, or maybe they were too busy at work. OR maybe, just maybe, they didn’t like some of the other guests who were invited, and were afraid they would be seated at the same table with them.
The prophet Isaiah in the first reading describes the banquet. “On this mountain the Lord of hosts will provide for all people a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy rich food and pure choice wines. On this mountain he will destroy the veil that veils all peoples, the web that is woven over all nations, he will destroy death forever. The Lord God will wipe away the tears from every face; the reproach of his people he will remove from the whole earth; for the Lord has spoken.”
In conclusion, who wouldn’t want to go to that party? With whom do you need to be at peace? Amen.
Fr. Terry Hazel
On this mountain the Lord of hosts will provide for all peoples.
Philippians 4:12–14, 19–20
I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me.
Many are invited, but few are chosen.