Faith Daily | 1 November 2022
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p598
God our Father,
whose will it is to bring all things
to order and unity in our Lord Jesus Christ:
may all the peoples of the world,
now divided and torn apart by sin,
be brought together under his sovereign rule of love;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: Luke 14: 15-24
15One of the dinner guests, on hearing this, said to him, “Blessed is anyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” 16Then Jesus said to him, “Someone gave a great dinner and invited many. 17At the time for the dinner he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come; for everything is ready now.’ 18But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of land, and I must go out and see it; please accept my regrets.’ 19Another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please accept my regrets.’ 20Another said, ‘I have just been married, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21So the slave returned and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and said to his slave, ‘Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ 22And the slave said, ‘Sir, what you ordered has been done, and there is still room.” 23Then the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the roads and lanes, and compel people to come in, so that my house may be filled. 24For I tell you, none of those who were invited will taste my dinner.’”
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Kay Murry
Here we have Luke’s parable of ‘The Great Dinner’.
Matthew’s version, the wedding feast for a King’s son, is much fiercer! In it, some of the decliners actually kill the slaves sent to invite them, and one of the guests who had been compelled to come, but didn’t have a suitable robe, was thrown into ‘outer darkness’. It seems there are extra messages there, but, returning thankfully to Luke’s story…
Luke has Jesus focused on showing that the invitation to God’s kingdom is ultimately open to all sorts and conditions of people. Were ‘those who had been invited’, in Jesus’ story, the favoured first-invited ones, the Jews? The guest who made the opening statement at the actual dinner, ‘blessed is anyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!’ was very likely a Jew, and like the other dinner guests, probably rather well-off, materially. And he probably felt that he was entitled to be one of those ‘eating bread in the KIngdom.’ So was Jesus reminding these guests that focusing on worldly wealth and its trappings and ‘busyness’, even family relationships - could tempt even favoured people to refuse their chance for the Kingdom? And their places could always be filled by those others, like gentiles, and the lowly, who the ‘Chosen People’, the Jews, would never consider to be likely candidates. But Jesus and his message is so compelling and inclusive that yes, such unlikely people will fill God’s Kingdom, even if the Jews don’t.
As scholars point out, Jesus’ story finishes at verse 23. Verse 24 is addressed directly to those possibly privileged guests at the actual dinner. And since Jesus says ‘My dinner’ the reference to the Messianic Banquet is hard to miss - and who would want to miss that heavenly feast of all believers with Jesus? So the possibility of being among those-who-were-invited-but-who-will-miss-out, should have given those dinner guests something to think seriously about!
And what about us? I sometimes worry that it can be easy, as a comfortably-off, practicing Anglican Christian, to feel one is safely among the Chosen, can’t it?
Lord, let me not take lightly your invitation into the Kingdom -
Let me not pray, like St Augustine, ‘Give me Grace, but not yet…’
Let me not assume I qualify automatically, because I am a ’cradle Christian’ -
But lead me to depend wholly on the amazing gift of life
through believing in the love and deliverance of Jesus.