Dear friends in Christ
This Sunday’s liturgy depicts salvation and eternal life in terms of a royal banquet. Each of us is invited by God to participate in the feast, and we cannot find excuses for not attending. Those in the Gospel are so absorbed in their activities that they believe there is no need of God; they offer various lame excuses for absenting themselves. When God invites, we have the freedom of our choice to accept or reject Him. So Jesus must have told this parable with a sense of deep sorrow, knowing that his overtures had been rejected, and would be rejected, down the ages. The experience of unrequited love is a repeated theme throughout the Scriptures: God asks for our love; we fail to respond or find other attractions which don’t fulfil our capacity for love in the same way.
In the Bible the image of a banquet is frequently used to portray the intimacy of relationship God wants to have with His people. Most lovely is the passage in the Book of the Apocalypse: Behold I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with Me. God repeats this request over and over again because He wishes to enter into a loving relationship with us. The human experience of encounter usually involves the sharing of words and food. In this context we often engage in a special way with other human beings, God uses this context - the Eucharistic Banquet - to manifest to us His profound desire for Communion with us. St Thomas Aquinas has expressed this beautifully for us in one of the antiphons for the feast of Corpus Christi: O Sacrum Convivium….O sacred banquet in which Christ is received; the memory of His Passion is renewed; the soul is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.
God bless you!
Fr Kevin Hale