Refusing Jesus

Pope Francis      06.11.18  Holy Mass Santa Marta         Philippians 2: 5-11,      Luke 14: 15-24
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The parable of the man who gave a great banquet, and sent out many invitations. His servants told the guests, “‘Come: everything is now ready.’ But one by one they all began to excuse themselves. There is always an apology. They apologize. Apologizing is the polite word we use in order not to say, ‘I refuse.’

And so the master then told his servants to bring in here the poor and the crippled, the blind and the lame.

This passage, ends with a second refusal, this one from the mouth of Jesus Himself. When someone rejects Jesus, the Lord waits for them, gives them a second chance, perhaps even a third, a fourth, a fifth… but in the end, He rejects them.

And this refusal makes us think of ourselves, of the times that Jesus calls us; calls us to celebrate with Him, to be close to Him, to change our life. Think about seeking out His most intimate friends and they refuse! Then He seeks out the sick… and they go; perhaps some refuse. How many times do we hear the call of Jesus to come to Him, to do a
work of charity, to pray, to encounter Him, and we say: “Excuse me Lord, I’m busy, I don’t have time. Yes, tomorrow today I can’t…” And Jesus remains there.

How often do we, too, ask Jesus to excuse us when “He calls us to meet Him, to speak with Him, to have a nice chat.” “We, too, refuse Him." 

Each one of us should think: In my life, how many times have I felt the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to do a work of charity, to encounter Jesus in that work of charity, to go to pray, to
change your life in this area, in this area that is not going well? And I have always found a reason to excuse myself, to refuse.

In the end, those who do not reject Jesus, and are not rejected by Him, will enter the Kingdom of God. But the Holy Father had a warning for those who think to themselves “Jesus is so good, in the end He forgives everything”.

Yes, He is good, He is merciful – He is merciful, but He is also just. And if you close the door of your heart from within, He cannot open it, because He is very respectful of our heart.
Refusing Jesus is closing the door from within, and He cannot enter.

It is Jesus Himself who pays for the feast. In the first Reading, St Paul reveals the cost of the banquet, speaking of Jesus, who “emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, humbling Himself to the point of dying on the Cross.” Jesus, paid for the feast with His life.”



Pope Francis   05.11.19  Holy Mass Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Marthae)       Tuesday of the Thirty-first week in Ordinary Time     Luke 14: 15-24

Pope Francis  05.11.19  Salvation

In Saint Luke’s Gospel today, Jesus tells the parable of a man who wants to give a great feast. But his guests offer various excuses and refuse his invitation. Instead, the man sends his servants to call the poor and the lame to fill his house and enjoy his hospitality.

This story both summarizes the history of
salvation and describes the behaviour of many Christians.

The dinner, the feast, represents Heaven, eternity with the Lord. You never know whom you might meet at a dinner; you meet new people; you also find people you may not want to see; but the atmosphere of the feast is joy and lavishness. Because a true feast must be freely given. Our God always invites us this way, He doesn’t make us pay an entrance fee. At real celebrations, you don't pay to get in: the host pays, the one who invites you pays. But there are those who put their own interests first before that freely-given invitation:

Faced with that lavishness, that universality of the feast, there is an attitude that blocks the heart: "
I'm not going. I prefer to be alone, with the people I like, closed up". And this is sin; the sin of the people of Israel, the sin of all of us. Closure. "No, this is more important to me than that. No, it’s mine". Always mine.

This refusal, is also a sign of contempt toward the one inviting
us: It is like saying to the Lord: "Don’t disturb me with your celebration". It is closing ourselves off to what the Lord offers us: the joy of encountering Him.

And we will be faced with this choice, this option, many times along the journey of life: either the lavishness of the Lord, going to visit the Lord, encountering the Lord, or closing myself in on my own affairs, my own interests. That is why the Lord, speaking of one way of being closed, said it is very hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. But there are good rich people, saints, who are not attached to wealth. But most of them are attached to wealth, they are closed. And that's why they can't understand what the celebration is. But they have the security of things they can touch.

The Lord's reaction to our refusal is firm: he wants all sorts of people called to the feast, brought there, even forced to come, good people and bad. Everyone is invited. Everyone. No one can say, 'I am bad, I can’t ...'. No. The Lord is waiting for you in a special way because you are bad. The response of the father to the prodigal son who returns home: the son starts a speech, but the father stops him and embraces him. That’s the way the Lord is, He is gratuitous.

In the First Reading where the Apostle Paul warns against hypocrisy Jesus’ response to the Jews who rejected Him because they believed themselves to be just was: "I tell you that prostitutes and tax collectors will enter the kingdom of heaven before you". The Lord loves those who are most disregarded, but He calls us. Faced with our closure, however, He keeps His distance and becomes angry, as we heard in the Gospel.

Let us think about this parable the Lord tells us today. How is our life going? What do I prefer? Do I always accept the invitation of the Lord or close myself off in my interests, in my smallness? And let us ask the Lord for the grace always to accept to go to His feast, which is free.