When I read today’s Gospel about so many people not responding to a Banquet Invitation, I was reminded of a story about going to Church on Sunday. I read it several years ago.
Keep the Logs Burning
A member of a certain church, who previously had been attending services regularly, suddenly stopped coming to Church.
The pastor found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire. Guessing the reason for his pastor’s visit, the man welcomed him,
led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace and waited.
The pastor made himself at home but said nothing.
In silence he contemplated the dance of the flames around the burning logs.
After some minutes, the pastor took the fire tongs,
carefully picked up a brightly burning ember
and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone.
Then he sat back in his chair, still silent.
The host watched all this in quiet contemplation.
As the one lone ember’s flame flickered and diminished,
there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more.
Soon it was cold and lifeless.
The pastor glanced at his watch and realized it was time to leave.
He stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember
and placed it back in the middle of the fire.
Immediately it began to glow once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.
As the pastor reached the door to leave, his host said with a tear running down his cheek,
“Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the “fiery sermon”.
I shall be back in church next Sunday.
In the Mass we come together.
We listen to the Word of God.
Listening is a very important part of prayer.
So often, when we pray, we do all the talking.
But God gave us two ears and one mouth. Why?
Because listening is an important part of life,
and a most important part of any relationship.
This is true of our relationship with God also.
In the Mass we listen to God’s stories.
In the Mass, from the Offertory onwards,
we are invited to join Jesus in offering our lives and our world
to our loving Father.
At the Offertory we offer the bread and wind,
part of our physical world, our planet earth,
so in need of redemption…
“groaning for redemption” says St. Paul in Romans 5:22.
Now a wonderful miracle happens at our Mass…
what was natural food and refreshment, bread and wine, become for us spiritual food and refreshment.
We remember Jesus at the Last Supper and we remember Jesus’ love poured out for us on the Cross.
As Jesus broke the bread and shared the cup at the Last Supper with his disciples… He gifted them with himself…
So now we are gifted in this Eucharistic Meal, this Banquet of Life, this Covenant Sacrifice – we are gifted with the Body and Blood of Jesus.
Be sure to accept the invitation you are given this coming Sunday.
Come to the Banquet of Life.
Father Donald Ware, C.P.