November 7, 2023
Tuesday of the Thirty-First Week in Ordinary Time
Readings for Today
“A man gave a great dinner to which he invited many. When the time for the dinner came, he dispatched his servant to say to those invited, ‘Come, everything is now ready.’ But one by one, they all began to excuse themselves.” Luke 14:16–18
Do you ever excuse yourself from the will of God? Do you pass up His invitation to feast at the table of His great dinner? More than anything else, the invitation God has given us to this “great dinner” is the invitation to participate in the Holy Mass and to pray. The fact that some would regularly excuse themselves from such an invitation shows that they do not understand that to which they have been invited. Others attend physically, but interiorly they are far from the feast that they attend.
In this parable, one after another of the invited guests did not come. So the man throwing the dinner sent out an invitation to “the poor and the crippled, the blind and the lame.” This is a reference to those Jews of Jesus’ time who recognized their need for the gift of salvation. They are those who were aware of their weaknesses and sins and knew that Jesus was the answer.
After the poor, crippled, blind and lame came to the feast, there was still more room. So the man sent his servants to invite those from “the highways and hedgerows” which is a reference to the Gospel being preached to the Gentiles who were not of Jewish origin.
Today, this feast continues to be offered. There are many lax Catholics, however, who refuse to come. There are those who find that life is too busy for them to make time for prayer and for Mass. They are those who are so caught up in worldly pursuits that they see little personal benefit in devoting themselves to the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.
If you wish to be among those who attend the feast of our Lord, you must work to identify yourself with the poor, crippled, blind and lame. You must recognize your brokenness, weaknesses and sins. You must not shy away from seeing yourself this way because it is to those that Jesus sends a desperate invitation. His desperation is an all-consuming desire for us to share in His love. He wants to love and heal those in need. We are those who are in need.
When we come to our Lord’s Feast through prayer, fidelity to His Word, and by our participation in the Sacraments, we will notice that He wants others to join us for His feast. Therefore, we must also see ourselves as those servants who are sent forth to the highways and hedgerows where we will find those who do not follow God’s will. They must be invited. Though they might not feel as though they belong, God wants them at His feast. We must do the inviting.
Reflect, today, upon two things. First, reflect upon any excuse you regularly use when God invites you to pray, to deepen your faith, and to participate in the Eucharist. Do you respond immediately and with eagerness? Or do you excuse yourself more often than you want to admit? Reflect, also, upon the duty given to you by God to go forth to the most lost souls so as to invite them to God’s feast. Our Lord wants everyone to know they are invited. Let Him use you to send forth His invitation.
My generous Lord, You have invited me to share in the glory of Your great Feast. You invite me every day to pray, grow strong in my faith, and to share in the Holy Eucharist. May I always respond to You and never excuse myself from Your invitations. Please also use me, dear Lord, to send forth Your invitation to those most in need. Jesus, I trust in You.