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A team of 200 priests comment on daily Gospel

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Liturgical day: Tuesday 31st in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Phil 2:5-11): Brothers and sisters: Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and, found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Responsorial Psalm: 21
R/. I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people.
I will fulfill my vows before those who fear him. The lowly shall eat their fill; they who seek the Lord shall praise him: «May your hearts be ever merry!».

All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord; all the families of the nations shall bow down before him.

For dominion is the Lord's, and he rules the nations. To him alone shall bow down all who sleep in the earth.

To him my soul shall live; my descendants shall serve him. Let the coming generation be told of the Lord that they may proclaim to a people yet to be born the justice he has shown.
Versicle before the Gospel (Mt 11:28): Alleluia. Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest, says the Lord. Alleluia.

Gospel text (Lk 14,15-24): One of those at the table said to Jesus, «Happy are those who eat at the banquet in the kingdom of God!». Jesus replied, «A man once gave a feast and invited many guests. When it was time for the feast he sent his servant to tell those he had invited to come, for everything was ready. But all alike began to make excuses. The first said: ‘Please excuse me. I must go and see the piece of land I have just bought’. Another said: ‘I am sorry, but I am on my way to try out the five yoke of oxen I have just bought’. Still another said, ‘How can I come when I have just married?’.

»The servant returned alone and reported this to his master. Upon hearing the account, the master of the house flew into a rage and ordered his servant: ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame’. The servant reported after a while: ‘Sir, your orders have been carried out, but there is still room’. The master said: ‘Go out to the highways and country lanes and force people to come in, to make sure my house is full. I tell you, none of those invited will have a morsel of my feast’».

«Go out to the highways and country lanes and force people to come in, to make sure my house is full»

Fr. Joan COSTA i Bou
(Barcelona, Spain)

Today, the Lord offers us an image of eternity represented by a banquet. The banquet denotes the place where the family and friends gather together to celebrate and enjoy the company, the conversation and the friendship, sitting around the same table. This image speaks of our intimacy with God as Trinity and the joy we will find in the Promised Land. He has made everything for us and He calls us in «for everything was ready» (Lk 14:17). He wants us with him; He wants all men and women by His side, each one of us.

We must, however, yearn to go. And, despite we know quite well that Heaven is where we can be at our best, where we should stay eternally, exceeding the noblest humans ambitions —«What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him» (1Cor 2:9) and, therefore, without any possible comparison—, we are, all the same, capable of refusing the divine invitation missing forever the best offering God could ever make us: to share His home, his table, his intimacy, forever and ever. What a responsibility!

Unfortunately, we are capable of swapping God for practically anything. Some, as we read in today's Gospel, for a piece of land; others, for some yoke of oxen. And you and I, what are we willing to trade He, who is our God, and his invitation, for? There are those that out of laziness, sloppiness, convenience, refrain from fulfilling their duties of love towards God: is God so unworthy we can replace Him with anything? Let our response to the divine offering be always a yes, full of gratitude and admiration.