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.’”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Why is it that “the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame” accept the invitation? It even says in the text that the householder tells his servant to bring them in, as if there would be no hesitation on their part. Perhaps they are so willing to respond because they know they are in great need of God. They are the first ones to call on God to give them strength to endure through their physical ailments and wanting conditions. They seek and find consolation in Christ for their physical and spiritual ailments and come to know of the great joy of being dependent on him.
In contrast, those who are initially invited want no part in the great feast. They feel self-sufficient and satisfied with their individual plans. And as we can see, they give some sad excuses for missing out on the great banquet. Do you really need to go and look at the field you just bought, or examine your newly purchased oxen? And why can’t your wife come to the feast? The problem is that they fail to recognize their utter dependence on God, and this leads to apathy towards him and the consolation and joy that he desires to give them.
The saints that the Society of Jesus commemorates today are great examples of men who understood the reality of their spiritual poverty and sought to become more and more like Jesus. These are men who accepted the invitation to give up everything and follow Christ, becoming servants who were sent out to draw others into his Church. May they pray for us that we may know the will of Christ and follow through with it.
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me.
—Suscipe of St. Ignatius of LoyolaPlease share the Good Word with your friends!