“Come, everything is now ready. But, one by one, they began to excuse themselves.” (Luke 14:17)
Who or what is at the center of our lives? When the Lord God speaks to us, do we listen to his calling? Do we understand just how important it is to make time for the Lord, to accept His invitation for us to share a meal with Him.
The parable begins with the Master giving a banquet, great dinner to which He invited many. However, those first invited did not come, making an excuse of one sort or another: I purchased a field… II purchased five yoke of oxen…I have just married.
The individuals that the Lord was addressing in this parable of the Banquet were the Chosen People of the Old Testament. Israel was the recipient of this gracious invitation to become partakers of the Banquet prepared for us in the Kingdom of God. In the person of Jesus, the Son of God, God appeared to men in human form. Jesus shared our humanity, raising us up from the murkiness of sin and into the light of His Gospel message of Love and Truth.
And even when rejected by His own, Jesus remained and remains Lord, the King of Kings. His Kingdom is one of Love, Peace ands Harmony. It is the the lowly of this world, the poor, crippled, blind and lame, who anxiously accept the Lord’s invitation. For they know and recognize their dependence upon God to sustain them in this life. They also recognize their need for healing of body and soul and ultimately eternal salvation.
In our Christmas carol, we sing: “Heaven and earth are united.” Celebrating the Nativity of Our Lord is a time of great rejoicing. The Christ-child entered into this world in all humility, born not in a royal palace, but a humble abode, a manger. And this attitude of extreme humility was present throughout the life of Christ, up to His self-sacrificial act of Love on the cross. Sinful mankind was redeemed bythe Blood of Christ. The Cross and Resurrection is therefore at the center of our faith.
On the night before He (the Lord) was handed over or rather gave Himself up for the life of the world, He took Bread, He took wine and changed them into His Body and Blood. The Eucharist is the spiritual food and drink that sustains us. Jesus is truly present in the Sacred Mystery of the Eucharist. The Divine Liturgy is a foretaste of the Heavenly Banquet.
We get a glimpse of Heaven already here on earth. God-is-with-us. The Sacred Mystery (Sacrament) of the Eucharist brings us unity, union and communion. We, the members of the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church are united in mind and spirit. We share a common faith, understanding and spiritual perspective of the meaning and purpose of this earthly life.
In the reception of the Eucharist and prayerful meditation and adoration before the Most Blessed Sacrament, we receive “strength, consolation and support.” (Pope John Paul II) We, as an Eastern Catholic Church, have an understanding that from the time of our Baptism, we have a share in the life of the Most Blessed Trinity. We have the pledge, the promise, of eternal life, if we but walk in the footsteps of Christ, Who is the Light of the world.
Soon we shall sing: “God Eternal is born today! He came down from above. To save us with His Love. Christ, the Son of God.” May we find room in our hearts to welcome the Christ-Child, new-born King. May the spirit of Christ ever remain in our hearts as we prepare for the second and glorious coming of Our Lord, when we shall be face-to-face with Our Lord and Master in the eternal Kingdom of Heaven.
Rev. D. George Worschak