Good morning, happy Tuesday, and many blessings.
The Gospel today (Luke 14:15-24) continues the reflection around themes linked to the table and the invitation. Jesus tells the parable of the banquet. Many people had been invited, but the majority did not go. The master of the feast was indignant because of the absence of those who had been invited and then sent his servants to call the poor, the crippled the blind and the lame. And even after that, there was still place. Then he ordered his servant to invite everybody, until his house was full. This parable was a light for the communities of the time of Luke.
In the communities at the time of Luke there were Christians, who had come from Judaism and Christians who came from the Gentiles, called pagans. Notwithstanding the difference in race, class, and gender, they lived profoundly the ideal of sharing and of communion. But there were many difficulties because some norms of legal purity prevented the Jews to eat with the pagans. And even after they had entered the Christian community, some of them kept this old custom of not sitting at table with a pagan. This is the reason why Peter had a conflict with the community of Jerusalem because he entered the house of Cornelius, a pagan and for having eaten with him (Acts 11: 3). Before these problems of the communities, Luke kept a series of words of Jesus regarding the banquet. (Luke 14: 1-24). The parable on which we are meditating is an image of what was happening in the communities.
No doubt, God is always inviting us to his table, He loves to spend time with us. Still, sometimes we are distracted by lots of things. They are not necessarily bad things but are given the wrong priority in our lives. Is there something in my life that has become an “excuse” for not accepting God’s invitation to his banquet? I am listening to Jesus tell this story. God wants me to be a guest at this banquet. What's it like to be there? Banquets are for important people; I don’t consider myself important, but God does. What reaction does this cause in me? As I read this gospel I have been wondering; how would I feel if I were invited to a dinner at which Jesus was going to be present? Would I care if I knew none of the other guests? Would I, instead, feel a common bond with all who were invited with me, each rejoicing at the other’s inclusion in the feast?
The shared table is often present in the Gospel, one of the preferred images of the Kingdom itself. God, the King, prepares a big banquet with great care. All are invited to this celebration where they can enjoy the King’s generosity. This is the Good News proclaimed by Jesus, and this is shown by his closeness to sinners and to all those in need, and whose table he often shared. At the end of his life, he left us the Eucharistic meal, as his own memorial. Yet many did not accept the invitation, even those who had been invited in advance. Many, even ourselves, find it difficult to accept the invitation to believe that God is so generous, we prefer not to get too close.
In general, which are the persons who are invited, and which are the persons who in general are not invited to our feasts? Which are the reasons which today limit the participation of persons in society and in the Church? And which are the reasons that some give to exclude themselves from the community? Are they just reasons?
While we continue to reflect on these questions, let's go out today to exercise our duty and right to vote to make a change in those who will be sitting at the table. Those that are right now do not function, let's clean the table.