Tuesday November 7th - Election Day (USA)
Every scripture passage can be read from different angles or at varying depths. Today's Gospel is one passage where I am easily able to find the depths with a little work. On one level Jesus is addressing the Israelite community. He is telling them that they have received the invitation to the banquet. In fact, they were the first to receive this invitation long ago. Yet, now, when the banquet, the feast, is at hand with Jesus, they refuse to come.
On another level I can see that this address could be applied to Catholics. Catholics, in receiving the fullness of the faith have received a full, complete, and explicit invitation to join this joyous feast. By virtue of our baptism we are invited to the banquet even though we may not yet be able to eat solid food. Yet, often we are swept away by the three "excuses" or distractions from the Kingdom mentioned by Jesus' reference to property, oxen, and the wife which could symbolize possessions, money, and the flesh. The love of these three things are often what causes us to make excuses as to why we refuse to partake of the banquet of grace set before us.
Finally, on a different level I can see this referring to death. The people originally invited were not caught by surprise at the arrival of the day of the banquet. In the custom of that day they were informed that there would be a banquet and then later, when it was prepared, they were told to come. They had plenty of time to "visit the property", "examine the oxen" or "spend time with the wife" before the banquet arrived. However, they put off preparing for the banquet and busied themselves with the things of this world only to find themselves making excuses when the final preparations were announced.
Many times I find myself unprepared for the banquet. I find that I am overly concerned with my possessions or with my business and money. At other times I place the things of the flesh before the things of God. In all of these cases I am like those invited men, making excuses instead of looking for the second announcement.
In all three above examples we must also consider those who are ultimately invited to that banquet and indeed attend. The Jews missed out and the "poor" Gentiles found a seat at the table. Many Catholics, who assumed they would be at the table simply because of the special invitation they received, will wake to find their seat given to the "maimed" who never had a chance to hear the Gospel. And those of us who continually make excuses because we are distracted by the things of this world will find our seats filled by the "blind and the lame" even though it was we who could not see the light and refused to get up and walk.
FROM THE SAINTS - "If, in order to save an earthly life, it is praiseworthy to use force to stop a man from committing suicide, are we not allowed to use the same force - holy coercion - to save the Lives (with a capital) of many who are stupidly bent on killing their souls?" - Saint Josemaria Escriva
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