Ordinary of the Mass
Mass Text Latin - Sunday within the Octave
Mass Text English - Sunday within the Octaveh
English Mass Text - Corpus Christi
Latin Mass Text - Corpus Christi
“I say unto you, that none of those men
that were invited, shall taste of my supper.”
Today’s Gospel is open to a number
of interpretations. The parable was told while our Lord was the dinner
guest of one of the chief Pharisees. Quite probably, the Pharisees invited
Him in order to find out more about Him, and not as a social gesture.
Earlier in the same chapter be read: “And it came to pass, when Jesus
went into the house of one of the chief of the Pharisees, on the sabbath
day, to eat bread, that they watched him.”
Our Lord was more well received by the common people than by those who were
After curing a man with dropsy, and
justifying the fact that He did so on the Sabbath, He gave them a lesson in
humility—it is the subject of another Sunday’s reading—the one where he
urges dinner guests to take the least place at the table, for “he that
humbles himself, shall be exalted.”
The parable about the invited guests
making excuses in order not to attend most probably was directed at the
Pharisees and the other people in authority. On some level the Jewish
people were the invited guests of God—His chosen people. He had called
Abraham out of the Chaldees, brought them back from bondage in Egypt to the
promised land, and then again out of captivity in Babylon. He had given
them His Law, established the sacrifices offered in the Temple where He
dwelt day and night on the Holy of Holies. He had taken them a long way,
and now He was calling them to journey a bit farther with His only begotten
Jesus knew that they would refuse
this call, and their refusal, like the refusal of the dinner guests, would
exclude them from God’s graces. It may be significant that in just a few
more years they would even give up the sacrificial worship of the Temple,
and cease following their old tradition of worship. Not only did they
reject God’s Son, but they also abandoned the worship demanded of them under
the old Law.
With the rejection of Christ by His
chosen people, the invitation passed on to the gentiles—the other nations of
the earth. It was spread far and wide by the Apostles and their
successors—first by word of mouth, then in handwritten texts, in printed
books, and finally by electronic communications.
But here again, some of those who
were invited refused to look more deeply into what was offered, refused
Baptism, and refused to enter the Catholic Church. Their reasons for
refusing ranged from lust to laziness, through malice and pride—but, for
whatever reason, they chose not to enter into God’s eternal banquet.
And even among the baptized, we find
those who leave before the supper is served. These are those who choose to
live in unrepentant mortal sin. Today, Saint John tells us that “no
murderer has eternal life abiding in him,” and that he who does not love his
brother is no better: “He who does not love abides in death.”
“He who has the goods of this world, and sees his brother in need, and
closes his heart to him, how does the love of God abide in him”?
Our Lord told us in no uncertain terms: “When you did not do these things
for the least of My brethren, you did not do them for Me.”
And while we are talking about the
“least ones,” our Lord tells us elsewhere that “whoever causes one of these
little ones to sin, it were better for him to have a great millstone hung
around his neck, and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
Look at the great scandal today of
those who attack the minds and the bodies of those “little ones” whom
they ought protect—those of positions of authority in the Church who preach
falsehoods to them and force their immoralities upon them—those in our civil
governments who have taken their office by perjury, with no intention of
honoring their sworn responsibilities—those parents who let their children
run wild, neither supervising their behavior nor educating their minds.
Unrepentant, none of these will enter God’s eternal banquet.
So, what are we to do in order to be
assured a seat at God’s holy supper?
Saint Luke wrote down more than what
we read of the Gospel today. The answer may seem cryptic, for our Lord was
using the characteristically Hebrew form of Exaggeration—what today we call
hyperbole. Our Lord speaks of “hating” mother, father, wife and
children, and of carrying a cross like His own.
Again, this is exaggeration—Christ means no hatred, and certainly not for
one’s own family. Our Lord is speaking about having a willingness to
renounce the security and pleasures of life, insofar as this is necessary to
conform our wills to God’s will. If relationship or property stand between
us and God, then we must be willing to give them up. Hopefully, none of us
will be crucified, but the carrying of the cross is an apt metaphor for
doing God’s will at any price.
“He who wishes to follow me, let him
deny himself and take up his cross....”
Understand that this too is an invitation. We are invited to follow
Christ—to go with Him to partake of His eternal supper—we are invited to
eternal joy in the kingdom of God.. We are invited to follow Christ—Christ
has cleared the path—the obstacles are few, and the rewards are great. We
are all invited—let us not refuse!.