Saturday, June 08, 2013

Fr. Wells a Bulletin Insert


It is remarkable how the theme of eating and feasting keeps coming up
in the Gospels.  All four Gospels tell of a miraculous feeding of a
multitude of people.  But in parable after parable we hear of a great
banquet.  This is the case with the passage we read today from St.
Luke’s Gospel. This theme is rooted in the Genesis 3 account of the
Fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve engaged in
forbidden eating. After they had been graciously invited to eat of every
tree in the Garden save one.  In Revelation we hear of a magnificent
banquet, a marriage feast, When Christ comes again.  Between Genesis
and Revelation we enjoy the eating of our Saviour’s Flesh and Blood in
the Holy Eucharist.

In today’s passage we hear of not one but three distinct invitations or
summonses to the feast.  The first of these, “Come, for all things are
now ready,” states the amplitude and abundance of the feast provided. 
This emphasizes that in His provision for us, God has provided “all
things” necessary for our well-being in this world and in the next. 
The penalty of our sin has been paid in full. In Christ’s death and
resurrection, nothing is lacking to provide new life, here and eternal
life hereafter.

In the second invitation we see how this amazing generosity on God’s
part is met with discourtesy and ingratitude on the part of humankind. 
Which is more amazing? Divine generosity, or human indifference?  Three
separate groups refuse the invitation.  The first says “I have bought a
piece of ground,” placing temporal affairs before a solemn invitation
from the Lord who created heaven and earth. The second speaks of trying
a yoke of oxen, not knowing that he himself is the one who is being
tried, by the One who has purchased him at a great price. The third,
however, is the most insolent.  The first two offer feeble excuses and
beg to be excused.  The third rather disrespectfully announces, “I
cannot come.’  An illustration of the truth that all sin (rejecting the
invitation of God) shows incredible haughtiness on our part..

The third invitation shows, in a fine contrast, the persistence of the
generous host.  An ordinary mortal would have yielded to the temptation
to call off the supper altogether.  When our first parents refused the
kindly provision God had made for them and insisted on having it their
own way, God might have appropriately destroyed them once and for all. 
But instead we see the long and wonderful history of salvation, which
reaches from the clanging gates of Eden.

Even to this very place where we already share the marriage supper of
the Lamb.

Do we know ourselves to be the poor, the maimed, the halt and the blind
who eat of this holy supper? We are not here because we have earned
this privilege, or even less because we are wiser or worthier than the
ungrateful guests who  refused to come. Only the stubborn goodness of
God has brought us here.  LKW

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