Tuesday, November 3, 2015 ~ Thirty-First Week in Ordinary Time
Saint Martin de Porres, Religious Lay Brother
Holy Gospel: Luke 14:15-24 One of those at table with Jesus said to him, “Blessed is the one who will dine in the Kingdom of God.” He replied to him, “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. The first said to him, ‘I have purchased a field and must go to examine it; I ask you, consider me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have purchased five yoke of oxen and am on my way to evaluate them; I ask you, consider me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have just married a woman, and therefore I cannot come.’ The servant went and reported this to his master. Then the master of the house in a rage commanded his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in here the poor and the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ The servant reported, ‘Sir, your orders have been carried out and still there is room.’ The master then ordered the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedgerows and make people come in that my home may be filled. For, I tell you, none of those men who were invited will taste my dinner.’”
Meditation: If a great lord or king invited his friends to a banquet, why would the guests turn down his invitation? A great banquet would take many days to prepare. And personal invitations would be sent out well in advance to the guests, so they would have plenty of time to prepare for the upcoming event. How insulting for the invited guests to then refuse when the time for celebrating came! They made light of the King’s request because they put their own interests above his. Jesus probes the reasons why people make excuses to God’s great invitation to “dine” with him at his banquet table. The first excuse allows the claims of one’s personal business or work to take precedence over God’s claim. Do you allow any task or endeavor to absorb you so much that it keeps you from the thought of God? The second excuse allows our possessions to come before God. Do you allow the media, including social media, and other diversions such as sports or work to crowd out time for God in daily prayer and worship? The third excuse puts home and family ahead of God. God never meant for our personal wealth and our relationships to be used selfishly. We serve God best when we invite him into our work, our homes, and our personal lives and when we share our possessions with others.
Prayer: O God, who led Saint Martin de Porres by the path of humility to heavenly glory, grant that we may so follow his radiant example in this life as to merit to be exalted with him in heaven. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: Do you put other things before God? Before Christ? Do you make excuses not to embrace divine wisdom and to follow the teachings of scripture? God lavishes his grace upon each one of us to draw us closer to himself and he invites each of us to his banquet that we may share more deeply in his joy. Only a fool would turn away from this invitation to dine at the banquet table of God, or put other things as a priority over God and Jesus.