Gospel: Lk 14:15-24
Upon hearing these words, one of those at the table said to Jesus, “Happy are those who eat at the banquet in the kingdom of God!” Jesus replied, “A man once gave a feast and invited many guests. When it was time for the feast, he sent his servant to tell those he had invited to come, for everything was ready. But all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘Please excuse me. I must go and see the piece of land I have just bought.’ Another said: ‘I am sorry, but I am on my way to try out the five yoke of oxen I have just bought.’ Still another said, ‘How can I come, when I’ve just got married?’ The servant returned alone, and reported this to his master. Upon hearing his account, the master of the house flew into a rage, and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly, into the streets and alleys of the town, and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ The servant reported after a while, ‘Sir, your orders have been carried out, but there is still room.’ The master said, ‘Go out to the highways and country lanes, and force people to come in, to ensure that my house is full. I tell you, none of those invited will have a morsel of my feast.”
Jesus‘ parable takes an unexpected twist when the invited guests make excuses. Jesus probes the reasons why people make excuses not to attend God’s great invitation. The first excuse allows the claims of one’s business to take precedence over God’s claim. Do we allow our work to totally absorb us and to keep us away from caring for others? The second excuse allows other goods or possessions to come before God. Do we allow our possessions to possess us? The third excuse puts home and family interests ahead of God. He never meant for family relationships to be used selfishly. The second part of the story focuses on those who had no claim on the king and who would never have considered getting such an invitation. The “poor, maimed, blind, and lame” represent the outcasts of society — those who can make no claim on the King. There is even ample room at the feast of God for outsiders. This is certainly an invitation of grace — undeserved, unmerited mercy and grace! But this invitation also contains a warning for those who refuse it or who approach the wedding feast unworthily. Grace is a free gift, but it is also an awesome responsibility. Dieterich Bonhoeffer contrasts “cheap grace” and “costly grace”. “Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves..the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance..grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate…Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life.” God invites each of us to his banquet to feel his joy of being with us. Are you ready to feast at the Lord’s banquet table?
© Copyright Bible Diary 2018