"It’s too good to be true." That is what we think when we are informed that we have received a free gift from a telephone call, a letter in the mail or an invitation on the internet. "Nothing is free in this life," we tell ourselves. This is normally a smart and safe reaction. The Gospel reading today, though, reminds us that there can be an offer that is too good to be true and is also trustworthy.
Jesus asks us to see our gracious God as the banquet host. God has fixed a great banquet and invited many to the party. After sending out invitations and getting all the arrangements made, the host then sends a second invitation to remind all those who have been invited.
What a gracious God we have. God constantly calls us to come be with him, having prepared everything for us to enjoy. God gives us an invitation "too good to be true."
Jesus describes people who refused the invitation to the banquet because they were too busy with possessions, profession or people. The excuses we hear are rather dim-witted. Would any one buy land or animals without first inspecting what he desired to purchase? The third man blames his future wife for setting the date of their marriage. All had plenty advanced notice of the banquet, but none wanted to attend and thought up dismal excuses.
Each of us is invited to a banquet, to spend time with God. Sometimes possessions keep us from attending the banquet. We have something in the house to fix, the new car to clean or the lawn to mow. It seems there’s always something else that demands our time and attention. Sometimes our work keeps us too busy. We want that overtime and so we can’t make it to church. We work all day and we’re tired so we just want to sit in front of the TV and not be disturbed. Sometimes people keep us from time with God. We get too busy with friends, going places doing things, and God just sort of ends up being neglected. We have good intentions and plan to spend time with God, but we never quite get to actually taking some quality time with God.
If I am too busy for God, I am too busy! I set my priorities! I find time to do that which I believe is important. Would my life be different if I set a priority in my life to accept the invitation to spend some time with God, to strengthen my relationship with Jesus, to listen to the gentle whispers of the Spirit? "Blessed is the one who will dine in the Kingdom of God."
Fr. Don Webber, C.P., is the Provincial Superior of Holy Cross Province and resides in Chicago.