Today's gospel sheds great light on being a follower of Christ.
We hear a story of a man who prepares a banquet for his guests. As you can imagine, planning a “great dinner” is no easy task. There is a lot of preparation and work involved. The guests are carefully selected and invited, food is prepared, linens are washed and the table is set. In Biblical times, when food was prepared, it had to be eaten that day. They did not have extra-large refrigerators and freezers like we do. If food was not eaten, it would spoil.
When the time of the banquet has arrived, all of the host’s guests back out. He is angered and rightfully so. He spent time, energy, and money preparing this special meal with his guests in mind, and they declined to come at the last minute.
With a table full of food and no one to enjoy it, the master orders his servant to fill the table with the blind, crippled, poor, and lame. When that has been done and there is still room at the table, the master asks that those from the highways and hedgerows be invited.
This story shows us our responsibility, our invitation. We are all invited to God’s banquet table to dine with him. We are freely given this invitation; not because of our own doings. If we accept this invitation, we have the responsibility to show up, to participate, and to feast on the food the Lord provides for us. We should not be lukewarm, accepting the invitation then coming up with a poor excuse to not show up. Accepting this gift and truly following God means we are also accepting the responsibility that comes along with it. We may have to make sacrifices, our lives may change when we have accepted the invitation of God, but dining at the banquet table of Christ and feasting off the good food He provides for us is worth it.