Tuesday - Ordinary Time
1) Opening prayer
God of power and mercy,
only with your help
can we offer you fitting service and
May we live the faith we profess
and trust your promise of eternal life.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
2) Gospel reading - Luke 14,15-24
One of those
gathered round the table said to Jesus, 'Blessed is anyone who will share the
meal in the kingdom of God!' But he said to him, 'There was a man who gave a
great banquet, and he invited a large number of people. When the time for the
banquet came, he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited,
"Come along: everything is ready now." But all alike started to make
The first said,
"I have bought a piece of land and must go and see it. Please accept my
"I have bought five yoke of oxen and am on my way to try them out. Please
accept my apologies."
said, "I have just got married and so am unable to come."
returned and reported this to his master. Then the householder, in a rage, said
to his servant, "Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town
and bring in here the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame."
said the servant, "your orders have been carried out and there is still
Then the master
said to his servant, "Go to the open roads and the hedgerows and press
people to come in, to make sure my house is full; because, I tell you, not one
of those who were invited shall have a taste of my banquet." '
• The Gospel today continues the reflection
around themes linked to the table and the invitation. Jesus tells the parable
of the banquet. Many people had been invited, but the majority did not go. The
master of the feast was indignant because of the absence of those who had been
invited and then sent his servants to call the poor, the crippled the blind and
the lame. And even after that, there was still place. Then he ordered his
servant to invite everybody, until his house was full. This parable was a light
for the communities of the time of Luke.
• In the communities at the time of Luke
there were Christians, who had come from Judaism and Christians who came from
the Gentiles, called pagans. Not withstanding the difference in race, class and
gender, they lived profoundly the ideal of sharing and of communion (Ac 2, 42;
4, 32; 5, 12). But there were many difficulties because some norms of legal
purity prevented the Jews to eat with the pagans. And even after they had
entered into the Christian community, some of them kept this old custom of not
sitting at table with a pagan. This is the reason why Peter had a conflict with
the community of Jerusalem because he entered into the house of Cornelius, a
pagan and for having eaten with him (Ac 11, 3). Before these problems of the
communities, Luke kept a series of words of Jesus regarding the banquet. (Lk
14, 1-24). The parable on which we are meditating is an image of what was
happening in the communities.
• Luke 14, 15: Blessed are those who
will eat the bread of the Kingdom of God. Jesus had finished telling two
parables: one on the choice of places (Lk 14, 7-11), and the other on the
choice of the guests who were invited (Lk 14, 12-14). While listening to this
parable someone who was at table with Jesus must have picked up the importance
of the teaching of Jesus and must have said: “Blessed are those who eat the
bread of the Kingdom of God!” The Jews compared the future time of the
Messiah to a banquet, characterized by gratitude and communion (Is 25, 6; 55,
1-2; Sal 22, 27). Hunger, poverty and the lack of so many things made the
people hope that in the future they would obtain what they were lacking and did
not have at present. The hope of the Messianic goods, usually experienced in
banquets, was a perspective of the end of time.
• Luke 14, 16-20: The great banquet is
ready. Jesus responds with a parable. There was a man who gave a great
banquet and he invited a great number of people”. But the duty of each one
prevents the guests from accepting the invitation. The first one says: I have
bought a piece of land and must go and see it!” The second I have bought five
yoke of oxen and am on my way to try them out!” The third one: “I have just got
married and so am unable to come!” In the limits of the law those persons had
the right not to accept the invitation (cf. Dt 20, 5-7).
• Luke 14, 21-22: The invitation
remains, it is not cancelled. The master of the banquet was indignant in
seeing that his invitation had not been accepted. In last instance, the one who
is indignant is precisely Jesus because the norms of the strict observance of
the law, reduced the space for people to be able to live the gratuity of an
invitation to the house of friends, an invitation characterized by the
fraternal spirit and by sharing. Thus the master of the feast orders the
servants to invite the poor, the blind, the crippled, the lame. Those who were
normally excluded because they were considered unclean, are now invited to sit
around the table of the banquet.
• Luke 14, 23-24: There is still place. The
room is not full. There is still place. Then, the master of the house ordered
the servants to invite those passing on the street. Those are the pagans. They
are also invited to sit around the table. Thus, in the banquet of the parable
of Jesus, everybody sits around the same table, Jews and pagans. At the time of
Luke, there were many problems which prevented the realization of this ideal of
the common banquet. By means of the parable; Luke shows that the practice of
the banquet came precisely from Jesus.
After the destruction of Jerusalem, in the
year 70, the Pharisees took over the government in the Synagogues, demanding
the rigid fulfilment of the norms which identified them as the Jewish people. The
Jews who converted to Christianity were considered a threat, because they
destroyed the walls which separated Israel from other people. The Pharisees
tried to oblige them to abandon the faith in Jesus. And because they did not
succeed, they drove them away from the Synagogues. All this brought about a
slow and progressive separation between the Jews and the Christians which was a
source of great suffering, especially for the converted Jews (Rm 9,1-5). In the
parable, Luke indicates very clearly that these converted Jews were not
unfaithful to their people. All the contrary! They are the ones who are invited
and accept the invitation. They are the true continuators of Israel. Those who
were unfaithful were those who did not accept the invitation and did not want
to recognize Jesus the Messiah (Lk 22, 66; Ac 13, 27).
4) Personal questions
• In general, which are the persons who are
invited and which are the persons who in general are not invited to our feasts?
• Which are the reasons which today limit the
participation of persons in society and in the Church? And which are the
reasons that some give to exclude themselves from the community? Are they just
5) Concluding prayer
Full of splendour
and majesty his work,
justice stands firm for ever.
He gives us a
memorial of his great deeds;
Yahweh is mercy
and tenderness. (Ps 111,3-4)