One of those at the table with Jesus said to him, “Blessed is the one who will dine in the Kingdom of God.”
Over the past several days, all but one of the Gospel readings have been about Jesus dining with the Pharisees and events that took place during the meal. Interestingly enough today’s Gospel is similar to the well-know, beatitudes that Jesus taught in His Sermon on The Mount. On All Saints day, the Gospel reading was the Beatitudes and today Jesus’ teaching starts out in the form of a beatitude and the message of caring for others is carried throughout His Parable in who the master wanted his servants to bring to the banquet.
In Jesus’ parable, the master represents God, the dinner or banquet represents the Kingdom of Heaven where we are all invited. Those that the master instructed his servants to go out and invite to the banquet represent those in society that Christ came to serve, those that you and I are called to serve!
One day we will all stand before God, and He will ask us about how we lived our life. I found something that might help us all prepare for that conversation with God.
God won’t ask what kind of car we drove. He will ask how many people we took to church who didn’t have transportation.
God won’t ask how big our house was. He will ask how many people we helped who didn’t have a house.
God won’t ask how many fancy clothes we had in our closet. He will ask how many of those clothes we gave away to the poor.
God won’t ask what our parents did to help us. He will ask what we did to help our parents.
God won’t ask what we did to help ourselves. He will ask what we did to help others.
God won’t ask how many friends we had. He will ask how many people we were a true friend to.
God won’t ask how many times we told the truth. He will ask how many times we told a lie.
God won’t ask about the color of our skin. He will ask about the color of our heart.
God won’t ask how many times our actions were like the actions of Christ. He will ask how many times they were not.
After Jesus had completed His sermon on the Beatitudes, He said these teachings are hard. He knew that those that worked every day to live a life that followed His teachings would be met with resistance by those who chose not to live their life by His teachings. Being a disciple of Jesus has never been easy. Of the eleven that remained after Jesus died on the cross for you and me, ten of them were martyred, or killed because they loved Jesus and lived to spread His teachings.
As the master said in today’s Gospel: Go out to the highways and hedgerows and make people come in that my home may be filled. God is calling each of us to do the same.
My fellow disciples, develop the habits that will help you become an example to others, let them see the Joy that comes from being a disciple of Christ. Adopt the virtues that will help you remain strong in the face of temptation. Know that Satan will test and tempt you. Know that there will be challenges along the way. Know that others will tell you that you don’t need to follow Jesus. When they do, try to remember one of the last beatitudes Jesus taught.
“Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.”