Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan
The Great Banquet
In today’s gospel reading (Luke 14:12-24), the Lord depicts an image of eternity represented by a banquet. The banquet usually means the place where family and friends meet, rejoicing in each other’s company. It means conversation and friendship around the table.
Indeed, this image tells us about intimacy with God the Trinity and the pleasure we find at the Eucharistic table and also the one, which we’ll find at the “Great Heavenly Banquet” in the Kingdom of God. God prepared the table and calls us: "Come, now the meal is ready" (Lk 14:17). He wants us to be with Him; He wants all the men and women of the world at his side, each and every one of us.
It is necessary, however, that we want to go there. No man can enter the Kingdom without the invitation of God, and no man can remain outside it but by his deliberate choice. In this parable, Jesus warns us that there are no reserved places at the table in the Kingdom of God. If you don’t come to the Banquet when you are summoned, you may find that you are too late – that the banquet hall has been filled with others.
God continually invites us to meet him and especially to dine with him at the Eucharistic table of the Holy Communion, which is the foretaste of the Banquet in the Kingdom: "No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him" (1 Cor. 2:9)
God has already committed to meet us in several areas of our lives. He meets us in our prayers, through the reading of his Word, at the fraternal communion, and even in the trials of our lives. But sometimes, maybe even too often, we do not show up in response to His invitation, even though we told him beforehand, "Yes, I’ll come."
Some people decline His invitation by laziness; others make excuses because of worldly affairs. And you and I what do we choose over our God and his invitation? Is God worth so little that we substitute Him by any other thing?
May our response to this divine invitation always be a "YES", full of gratitude and admiration!