Tuesday, 31st Week in Ordinary Time            

            “Blessed is the one who will dine in the Kingdom of God.”

            Karl Rahner, a Jesuit theologian, writes the following in his book Words of Faith about the great gift of existence: “It is a favor when God calls a person into existence.” “It is an act of grace, of love, of kindness, of unspeakable mercy.” “He has called us into existence, an existence that is everlasting.” “He has called us into his grace, and this grace is he himself and his own eternal life.”

            The life which God gave us is a share in his very life. Our life is a participation in God’s life. We are so blessed to receive this favor because it is the blessedness of God himself. (Rahner)

            It is essential to live with full awareness of this favor. We should deepen our sense of appreciation and gratitude for this unspeakable grace of God in prayer. People who pray keep having the experience of grace, no matter how much hardship they must reckon with. As John Carmody, in his book How to Handle Trouble, says, “The move of the healthy spirit is to be thankful for the gift of life, despite all the pain it can cause.” The right attitude is to be always happy to be here, always grateful to have been invited to share in God’s life. And the right response is a simple ‘Yes’ – yes to God’s invitation.

            Jesus often talks about the kingdom of God as a banquet – not just a simple meal, but a great feast. In today’s gospel reading, he talks about a great dinner that a man gives to which many are invited, and he refers to the ungrateful people who snub God’s banquet. Obviously, they are not aware of what God is offering them.

            The Lord constantly invites us to his banquet – which is, again, an invitation to share in God’s life. But do we really appreciate what grace and honor it is to be invited to this banquet? We shall not enjoy life very much if we take it for granted.

            Let us constantly pray that we may have a profound appreciation for the unspeakable grace, for the wonderful gift of life, and for the countless blessings God continues to pour upon us. Let us make going to God’s banquet our highest priority. Our response to the Lord’s invitation cannot be postponed. The invitation has to be responded now.

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