I’m pretty good at finding excuses when given a choice between something fun and something that requires work, even when I know the payoff for the work is greater than the payoff for a momentary amusement.
Time for prayer or a reflection on Scripture at the same time a tempting movie is available on Netflix?
Time for my annual retreat when a great concert is in town that weekend?
Time for Sunday liturgy when I am out of town for a weekend of fun with friends?
Our culture, especially as we develop more and more ways of entertaining ourselves with electronics, is filled with distractions, sports, performing arts and excitement of all kinds.
We are highly developed in our consuming habits as well. Some seek comfort with the purchase of the latest in fashion, cars, trips and gathering new toys for our garages, entertainment centers and kitchens.
In today’s Gospel Jesus invites us to go deeper. A lot deeper. He wants us to recognize a reverse society. The poor, the crippled, the blind, the lame and street people…the fringe and the rejects…are to make up the crowd around the table at God’s banquet.
If I am too distracted by the world’s tinsel and glitter, I’ll miss what’s really important. I’ll feel self-sufficient and in control, the opposite feeling of the weak and vulnerable They can’t do for themselves and have little or no control. Yet, these are the one’s God assures will dine with him at the banquet.
To experience the joy of eating and drinking with the Lord at the Lord’s table, Jesus makes clear, we must set aside all that distracts us and feel the absolute dependence on God in every aspect of our brief lives.
Then we will savor every morsel at the Lord’s banquet.
Jim Wayne is a board member of the Passionists Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) Office, state legislator, and author of The Unfinished Man. He lives in Louisville, Kentucky.