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Sunday, October 9, 2011

We are all invited...


God invites us all to the banquet. Am I like those in the parable Jesus told today who do not heed his invitation? When pressed, they give excuses. I wonder what the real reason is for refusing the invitation. I think I am one who has rejected the invitation often in the past and continue to do so for silly reasons. I think I am busy, but probably I am just lazy or too preoccupied with my own concerns to even remember that I am invited to this great banquet.
Then the King invites everyone. And God keeps inviting us. "If today You hear his voice, harden not your hearts."
The following is an excerpt of an article by Patricia Sanchez sent by NCR; itis a good reflection on today's Gospel:

"Perhaps one way of answering this question is to consider how we respond to God’s many invitations in our lives. Some of those are standing invitations that invite us to gather regularly for liturgy. These weekly or even daily invitations can become so routine that we might not be fully present at the banquet of word and bread and fellowship. At the end of a liturgical celebration, one pastor in a small rural parish in the South proclaimed to his congregation, “Go forth in peace; this has been the highlight of our day; it is all downhill from here.” This colloquial way of affirming the eucharistic banquet as the source and summit of our lives remained with his parishioners, who struggled to value all else in their lives as secondary to -- and dependent upon -- that time of sacred sharing.

God’s invitations reveal themselves in other ways as well. Through the persons who reach out to us in their need, God invites us to share. Through those who suffer injustice, God invites our advocacy and responsible participation at the ballot box. Through those who have no one to speak for them, no one to uphold their rights to live and work without fear, God invites our persistent involvement on their behalf.

In the beauties of nature, God invites our awe and admiration; in the calamities of nature, God invites our trust. In the warmth of friendship and familial harmony, God invites our gratitude; in the pain and turmoil of strained relationships, God invites our perseverance. In the vigor of our youth and good health, God invites our grateful service; in the pain of sickness and the struggles of old age, God invites our endurance and calm. In all our fears, in all our frustrations, in all our sadness, desires, accomplishments and joys, God is inviting us to be at peace and center upon the One who is to be our ultimate concern."

[Patricia S├ínchez holds a master’s degree in literature and religion of the Bible from a joint degree program at Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary in New York.]

Book reviews will continue tomorrow.

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