Invite to the Banquet

Armodoxy for Today
Invite to the Banquet

This week of Advent is dedicated to a parable offered by our Lord and recorded by St. Luke (chapter 14:12-24).

Suppose you wanted to celebrate your daughter’s birthday with a party on 20th of the month. You send out invites to your relatives, friends and even neighbors. “Help us celebrate our daughter’s birthday” says the invite. “On the 20th at 5PM, in our backyard, join us for a bar-b-que,” finishes off the invite. You send them off and start receiving responses: the first one says, “I’m sorry, I can’t make it on the 20th can you change the date to the 19th?” Another says, “I don’t like bar-b-que, too bad you’re not serving baked foods. I won’t be coming.” The next one complains that the outdoors, your backyard, is too cold. “I wish you had the event in a hall. I won’t be attending.”

Such a scenario would be humorous at the least, and downright rude on the courtesy scale. Jesus shares the following parable with us. His intention was not to be humorous, nor to get a rise out of us. Instead, he speaks of the lessons that is part of our Advent Journey on the road to Christmas through Armodoxy.

Jesus said, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’ Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’ And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’ Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.’”

This story, the Parable of the Great Banquet, has many dimensions to it. It speaks of the invitation to Christianity and Christian living in particular and talks about the call to humanity, to living in harmony with and within our world, in general. It points to the essence and the purpose of Christmas. For this reason the Armenian Church has prescribed this parable as the theme of this week in Advent.

We have heard the parable. We dive into to tomorrow, as we continue our Advent Journey. I look forward to having you join us.

Let us pray, Heavenly Father, you have invited me to our Kingdom. From the day of my baptism from the holy font until today, I have tried to follow your ways. Sometimes I wonder off the path, and I find excuses to justify my missteps. Today, I put those excuses to one side and I look to you to keep my feet on the path you have opened for me. Amen.

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