The Parable of the Great Banquet

15 When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”

16 Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’

18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’

19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’

20 “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’

21 “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’

22 “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’

23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. 24 I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’”

Luke 14:15-24

This passage may stir some confusion in us. Why would the man invite ordinary people to the banquet? In Letter to the Colossians 3:5-14, St. Paul talks about our old, immoral practices lacking of the Creator’s wisdom. We are called to be the imitators of Christ, “Christians”. He calls us now to be renewed in compassion, kindness and patience and to forgive as we have been forgiven by God.

God has invited us all to the vast banquet that is his kingdom. How we respond to this invitation is important to our moral well-being. If we do not attend it despite being invited and choose to use the invitation at our own will, we would be like those who born into the Church in someway and then took it for granted. On the other hand, if we consider this invitation with a lot of importance, we would enthusiastically attend his banquet every single time. These are like the Gentiles, who were converted and redeemed by the grace of God. Because we know that like them, the cause of our redemption too was this banquet from the Kingdom of Heaven, and so we can not do without it.

We are honoured to be invited to such a banquet, but we have to fulfil certain duties as a Christian individual in order to continue receiving gifts from the kingdom of God. Analogously, although we receive a lot of grace during Mass, that doesn’t imply that we can enter the Kingdom of God. We have to be Christ like, as St. Paul says, change our old ways, rid our youthful follies, and clothe ourselves with ‘’compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience’’. And we must do this not out of a sense of effort, but by emptying ourselves so that we can be filled by the Holy Spirit. So, during this season of Advent, let us make an attempt to clothe ourselves with gifts of the Holy Spirit, everyday.

Collaborated by Arun Soni and Joel Vasanth.

Veeta was on her second interview for the day when I met her. She happened to be sitting next to me on the bus and for a minute I thought I was on the wrong bus and she reassured me I was on the right one and we started talking for the next half an hour or so until my stop arrived. That was an interview I was going to where I came across this person.

Mr Khanna was an 85 year old retired auditor who happened to sit next to me during one of my long waits at an airport. What started out as a conversation to hand the newspaper over took multiple turns into the past and I could see his eyes shine as he was telling me stories of the days in which he could jump and run.

These are two of the people who have crossed paths with me in two of my journeys that I was reminded of today.

I did not know why certain things happened, why I went for that interview if God knew this job wasn’t fit for me. Why did I go till the last round of the interview if I’m not going to get that job. Why this? Why that? Basically a lot of whys!!

That’s when I got a tiny answer today, a mom with two kids was traveling in the bus i took today and I helped the mom, maybe that was why I had to be on the bus today. I randomly smiled at a lady (who definitely thought it was creepy) and perhaps that’s why God wanted me to go that way today.

A lot of things that seemed like coincidences are actually God working behind the scenes for the good of all who love Him and who he cares for.

So it’s okay to not be called back after every interview. It’s okay if we had to go the hospital multiple times for a lot of tests. It’s okay to get low marks.

God is in control. He knows what is best for us.

My Sunday school kids and I decided to make small boats of hope and write “Smile, Jesus loves you :)” on each of them so that we could give it to a person who is not smiling or someone close to us.

Once I told them what to write, this seven year old wrote “Smile, Jesus loves me” so I asked him why did he write like that cause my whole idea or lesson for the day was around giving this boat to person who is not smiling.

This young boy’s answer took me by surprise. He told me “My mother is smiling, my father is smiling but I’m not smiling so I

need this”

His honest and innocent answer got me thinking.

How many of us are so innocently honest like this seven year old?

My surprise didn’t end there.

I had the “boat of hope” that I call, which I made so I asked the rest of the class if we could give it to this boy who felt he needed it the most and to my surprise they wanted him to have it.

Do we do this growing up?

Are we sensitive of our feelings as well as the feelings of those around us?

Has growing up changed the way we feel, think and react?

Would you make yourself a boat of hope today?

Why I called it the boat of hope?

Well Noah was one of the only Godly men during the difficult and tough times. God told Noah to build the ark and he didn’t question God or ask for an action report as to why he should build the ark nor did he know why. He just built the ark and slowly he saw the big picture and the why’s and the when’s.

So when you build a boat of hope for yourself it’s a symbol of hope that God is there with you and you are not alone.

So build yourself an ark of hope.

In our Uber/Ola trending world, how would you feel if your driver could not read the google map and drop you off at the right location?

Not so calm, especially if that is delaying you to your very important meeting that you absolutely must reach on time and since you left home extra early you thought you could save a few pennies by booking the pool/share.

I have felt so helpless that I have no clue where I am nor how to reach my next destination, all I could do was trust my driver to take me to my right destination how much ever time it takes.

If I can give up so much of trust to a man who was matched to me through the wonders of technology to safely(sometimes not so safely) still drop me at my destination, why can’t I let God take the drivers seat in my life?

I used to think that proper study of situations and scenarios would help me list out the pros and cons and help me in my decision making. I have hated waiting for things from my food to my results to my flights. God has never ceased to surprise me in any of these areas now that I look back.

I learned to relinquish and eventually let go of the drivers seat of my life when God asked me- “Why are you downcast,O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?”

Psalm 42:5a

And he answered to my cries“ Put your hope in God”

Now I enjoy the views, the scenery, the rain, the sunshine, the mountains and the valleys as my father in heaven is behind the wheels.

Back when I was a kid, I received a huge Crayola box full of crayons and I felt like I held in my hand, every colour in the world.
I remember how sad I used to be whenever a crayon broke, and how the broken pieces were so small compared to the others in the box.
While the ‘perfect crayons’ stood tall and proud, the ‘imperfect crayons’ cowered below, short and stout. The ‘perfect crayons’ held their place, while the ‘imperfect crayons’ wiggled out of the box and sometimes even got lost. The ‘perfect crayons’ were easy to colour with, while the ‘imperfect crayons’ were hard to hold and even more difficult to colour with.
It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the brokenness in your life, but you must never ever let your past, your brokenness and your hurt define you, but let them mould you into someone stronger than you were as you redefine what lies ahead.
No matter how broken you may be, what you’re made of hasn’t changed. No amount of brokenness can change that. You are still you, and all of your broken fragments too.
You were created in the glorious image of a God, who wants to carry your hurt and your burdens for you, and He wants you to see you healed and restored and whole again.
You may think you’re a mess right now, but you are one beautiful and unique colour in God’s masterpiece. There is no one like you.
You are your own crayon, full of vibrancy and life. You are purposeful and you add your own signature hue to all you do. There is no colour like you.
You may not see His big picture right now, but God has already drawn the outlines, and He knows where each colour will go to complete His work of art.
God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. His masterpiece consists of a colour palette so beautiful and varied because He uses all the crayons in His box – the broken and the unbroken.
Our past may have broken us, but that does not mean we cannot colour out a beautiful future.
Broken crayons still colour.
So will you.