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. For I tell you, none of those who were invited will taste my dinner.’”
When it comes time to celebrate and dance, I am the guy that is sitting with my arms crossed at a safe distance between myself and the dance floor. At every party I’ve been to, I’ve needed the initiative of some generous soul to grab my hand and pull me onto the dance floor. While I secretly like dancing, I’m too shy to jump in on my own.
In today’s Gospel, those who were invited to the feast prefer to enjoy life on their own terms. I often act similarly—invested in my own projects, at a safe distance from the Gift on offer.
The irony is that the gift on offer—that is, the celebration of the Master’s feast—is greater than any gift or project I could create for myself. In the joy of this feast, God reveals to us our true identities. In the words of Thomas Merton, “we are invited to forget ourselves on purpose, cast our awful solemnity to the winds, and join in the general dance.”
—Michael Lamanna, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic of the USA Northeast Jesuit province. He is currently studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago.
Dance then, wherever you may be
I am the Lord of the Dance, said He!
And I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be
And I’ll lead you all in the Dance, said He!
—Sidney CarterPlease share the Good Word with your friends!