(Fifth and Sixth Banquets – Lk 14: 1 – 24; 16: 19 – 31)
Woe to you Pharisees! For you love to have the seat of honour in the synagogues and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces. (11: 43)
Jesus must have shaken his head in disbelief when he saw the guests scrambling for the places of honour at the table. (14: 7) How slow we are to learn the secret for living life to the full. Surely life is all about being of service to others. “For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (14: 11) We need to be grateful that all have been invited to the banquet.
“One of the dinner guests, on hearing this, said to him, ‘Blessed is anyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!.’” (14: 15)
Jesus has told us: “I am the bread of life that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” (Jn 6: 51) Everything that Jesus does, teaches and values, make up the banquet, to which we are all invited.
“Someone gave a great dinner and invited many. At the time for the dinner he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, “Come; for everything is ready now.’” (14: 17) Three times the call is repeated but they all began to make excuses.
‘I bought land, unseen, and now I want to see it. I cannot come.
I bought and paid for five yoke of oxen! I am off to test them.
My wife does not want me to go. I cannot come.’ This is what happens when our light goes out. This is what happens when we cannot be bothered to go to the Banquet of the Word of God.
“Woe to you lawyers, because you took away the key of knowledge: you yourselves did not enter, and you managed to thwart those who were trying to enter.” (11: 52)
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (Jn 8: 12) “Now, in the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” (Mt 5: 16)
“Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame. Go out into the roads and lanes, and compel people to come in.” (14: 21b) We, too, are told to, “Go, tell John (others) what you have seen and heard; the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.” (7: 22)
Luke’s chain of banquets is brought to a close with his sixth banquet.:
“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table. (16: 19 – 21)
Recall the six banquets and ask yourself if the climax is true? “Between you and us (the rich and the poor; those with power and those without; those with knowledge and those without) a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.” (16: 26)
Cross the chasm and you will live.