I’m sure many of us can relate, I know I can. I’m a bit of an introvert, believe it or not, so as much as I love people, and spending time with people, my social batteries quickly run dry. I need to spend time at home with my small circle of close friends to recharge my batteries. And then I can get out and about socialising again. But that means when I get invited to fancy dinner parties, I am often tempted to make excuses. I know that if I’ve been working all week on the TV show and Church liturgies, I’ll probably be tired by the time it comes to supper, so I find myself looking for excuses not to go. But then I remember this parable. Our friends and family – invite us to share in their feast, to break bread with them because they love us. The Master in this story does just that – he invites people along and they all have seemingly legitimate reasons not to go. But the truth is, if you really want to do something, you make it happen. It’s true, there’s only so much time in a day, only so many days in a week, but we always make time for the things that we prioritise. And the message here is that we should prioritise love.

Of course, this is a metaphor to describe God’s love for us. Throughout the Old Testament God revealed himself to the Israelites. He gave them his laws and invited them to love him. His chosen people often turned out to be stubborn – as we all are at times – and tended to overcomplicate God’s message. The story of the New Testament is one of mercy and repentance. God descended upon the earth as Jesus Christ the person, God incarnate, fully God and fully man, to clarify his message. To essentially say “you were invited along, as God’s chosen people, yet you keep making excuses not to accept the invitation.” And just like the Master in the parable, who invited everyone else along so his house would be full, Jesus then invites the Gentiles – the non-Jews, the rest of us – along, too. We’re all invited to the party, that is the heavenly kingdom, through God’s great mercy. The RSVP is repentance and faith. To accept the invitation we’re called to repent of our sins and have faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. Our one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. He died on the cross to pay the price for our sins, he welcomes us into his body through Baptism of water and the Holy Spirit, and encourages us to take Communion in him.

The banquet we are invited to is one of eternal life in him. We are offered a seat at his heavenly table, to receive of the bread of life. In this life, that means the Eucharist, in which we receive the body and blood of Christ, who is the bread of life. And in the life to come, that means eternal joy in his heavenly kingdom. God the Father provides the supper, in honour of his only begotten son, Jesus Christ. It is a festival, a feast, a high solemnity. Christ is the supper.

An interesting observation from this parable is that if the Master is God the Father, then the slave he sent to invite guests must be Jesus Christ. This is not the first time Jesus is referred to as a slave, but it is language that can be jarring in a modern context. It should be taken to mean servant, because Christ is one who lowers himself, he humbles himself. In his kenosis, he empties himself of his personal wants and desires, and is filled with the divine will of his Father. Just as we are called to do. He shows us that he is a servant-leader. A person who leads by examples. Jesus Christ is King of Kings, Lord of all, and yet he is referred to as a slave of God. Is the highest of all highs, our Lord Almighty can be so humble, so can we.

So let us not make excuses for this one. Let us not put off being holy. Let us not convince ourselves that we’ll get it right another day. Let us not lie to ourselves “it is easy for such and such to live a Christ-like life, they don’t have x, y, z to consider like I do” or “I do what I can, but I’m busy with you know what, or you know who” these are distractions and they are wrong. We are called to pick up our crosses, to bear the burden. Christ tells us, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

When we take that step, that leap of faith, we realise how easy it was all along. It is only our selves holding us back. The Lord is willing us on.

He invited the handicapped to his house, the poor, the maimed, the blind, in order to let us know there is nothing that can prevent us from joining him. Nothing but ourselves. He acknowledges we are fallen, he knows we are sinners, and yet he shows mercy on us regardless. If we ask it of him, he forgives us our sins. In fact, he encourages it. He wants us to repent, and have faith in him. He has already forgiven us.

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