Summer is a time when we receive lots of invitations. Invitations to graduations, weddings, barbeques, picnics, trips to the beach, Disneyland, baseball games and concerts, to name a few. In the Gospel, Jesus tells a parable about invitations.
The parable counsels those who are invited to a banquet to take the most lowly place first, rather than rushing to the head of the table. It also advises that invitations be sent beyond our comfortable circles of family and friends to those who perhaps are neglected or in need of care (Luke 14:1-14). The parable is a reminder that everyday Jesus invites us to join him and each other at the banquet of our lives now and at the heavenly banquet in the future. Reflecting on some good practices in responding to other invitations we receive might help us know how to respond to the invitation of Jesus.
After receiving an invitation, the first step is to RSVP, indicating whether or not we can participate. We need to do the same with Jesus. Check in with him everyday. Let him know how we are doing. Tell him what we can and cannot do. Thank him for the blessings and ask him for help where it is needed.
A wonderful practice in accepting an invitation is to bring a small gift to whoever is hosting us, like a modest bouquet of flowers, a bottle of wine or some nice olive oil. In facing each day, it is a good practice to ask what we can bring to others that day. What are the gifts that we can bring to the table? Life in Jesus is about participating, not sitting on the sidelines complaining about family members, co-workers, society or the Church. Life is not a fishbowl that we watch from the outside.
Another fine custom after enjoying somebody else’s hospitality is to send them a thank you note. We can send Jesus thank you notes too, everyday thanking him for inviting us to participate in his life and love. Along with this attitude of gratitude goes letting go of regrets or resentments over invitations that we never got, or jealousy toward someone who did. Everyday we are invited to join Jesus and each other at the banquet of life. Let’s remember to RSVP.
Together in faith,
The Very Rev. Christopher Smith, rector