One Monk of the Order of Saint Benedict

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The Word of God and the Body of God reveal each other -- the homily worships both.

November 07, 2006

For Tuesday of the Thirty-First Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Luke 14:15-24

Our Lord’s parable today makes two points among others.
First: many are called— God has thrown open worldwide the doors of his house.
Second: not all accept the invitation.
The first point is that God does his part.
The second point is that he leaves us responsible for doing ours.
We must always keep these two points together.
In the history of the Church, perhaps every heresy in spirituality or morality involves the partial or complete denial of one of these two points.
God does his part, and leaves us responsible for doing ours.
How do we prepare for happiness in the banquet of the kingdom, and can we enjoy any of it now?
We prepare for happiness in the banquet of the kingdom by setting priorities.
When God invites, we leave everything to follow him.
When God commands, we leave everything to obey him.
When God promises, we leave everything to believe and hope in his promises.
Can we begin to enjoy the banquet of the kingdom right now?
Yes— again— by setting priorities.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your soul,
all your heart,
all your mind,
and all your strength.

In Christ, we recognize that God lavishes on us what is better than anything else: he lavishes on us his very own self.
“For us men and for our salvation, he came down from heaven.”
We begin to enjoy the fullness of God only by imitating him, by handing ourselves over to him in return.
“For us men and for our salvation, he came down from heaven.”
So, for God’s sake and for his glory, we work our way on the road to heaven’s banquet.
Only faith dares to risk such an exchange.
We are free to reject the offer God makes us in his Gospel.
If we turn down God’s invitation, the alternatives do not offer much that is genuine or lasting.
The world just as it is offers in itself no real or permanent foundation for hope, trust or love.
We may try to escape through seeking pleasure and distraction that avoid looking either beneath or above the surface of anything.
Only the risk of faith in the Gospel lays a foundation for lasting and honest happiness.
Here in the Eucharist, we are about to take that risk.
Here in the Eucharist, God opens for us the doors of the royal wedding banquet of heaven.
He sends out his servants, the angels, the saints and ordinary members of the Church to search for us.
He searches us out in the streets, highways, alleys and fields of our lives.
He searches for us in the poverty of our sins.
He searches for us when we are spiritually maimed, blind and lame.
Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town,
and bring in here the poor and the crippled,
the blind and the lame.

Go out to the highways and hedgerows
and make people come in
that my home may be filled.

He certainly expects us to be eager for his invitation.
We must take hold of what God freely offers, and count no other relationship, possession or activity so important that we cannot set it aside at the invitation of God.
At this very minute we are attending the Wedding Banquet of the Lamb of God.
If we attend with hope, with faith and with love, treasuring, obeying, imitating and living out what we receive, we shall also celebrate it forever in the unending life to come.

That God Be Glorified in All


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