Tuesday November 5, 2002 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
Reading (Philippians 2:5-11) Gospel (St. Luke 14:15-24)
When we hear Our Lord’s words in the Gospel reading today that none of those invited will taste His dinner, we recall first that what we are all invited to is the Banquet of the Lamb, at which Jesus Himself is the Banquet as well as the Host. In the proper context, of course, we can recognize that initially He was speaking of the leaders of the Jewish people. But we need to be able to address this to ourselves and say that we now are the ones who are invited.
And so, what will be the requirement to be able to enter into this banquet of the Lord? I think we see it in the first reading when Saint Paul tells us, regarding Our Lord, that He “did not deem equality with God something to be grasped, but rather, He emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, and being found in the likeness of men; He humbled Himself and became obedient even to the point of death.” That is the attitude we have to have, and Saint Paul makes it very clear that you must have the attitude which is yours in Christ.
Because you are a member of Christ, you already have everything that is His. The question is whether or not we are willing to accept what is His. We like the idea of being a member of Jesus; we do not like the idea of everything it entails. We like the good part: to be able to share His divinity, to be able to share His life, to be able to have all the graces, to be able to be a child of God and an heir of Heaven, and all these things - we like that! To have to be humble and obedient, to have to go to the Cross, to be willing to die, and all these sorts of things – well….we do not like to talk about that so much. And that is the part we need to recognize: We need to have the same attitude which was His. Saint Paul did not say, “Have the same attitude of Christ, Who is God, and therefore thought that everybody ought to be serving Him and thought that He should be held up above everybody else and taken care of and looked after and all the other things.” He did not say that, and that is not the way Jesus lived His life. Saint Paul makes clear that the attitude of Jesus is one of humility and one of obedience and one of service, and says, “That must be your attitude in Christ Jesus.”
If you are a member of Christ, you are to allow the Lord to live in you and through you so your dispositions must be His dispositions; your actions must be His actions; your thought, His thoughts; and so on. The attitude of Christ was one of holiness, one of humility and obedience and service. That is the attitude Saint Paul is telling us we must take. If we are willing to take that attitude and live that attitude with Him, then we can be assured of entrance into that banquet.
If, on the other hand, we find that there are things more important than the Lord in our lives and more important than doing His Will, then we are going to find ourselves uninvited to the banquet. But not by Him – by ourselves! When it comes time for final judgment and we are called on to enter the eternal banquet, we are going to say, “I’m sorry, I just bought a new field. I’m sorry, I just bought five new head of oxen.” In essence: “I’m sorry, I just chose hell.” That is what we are going to tell God: “I’m sorry, I don’t want to enter into Your banquet because Satan has something better for me.” Not a happy thing.
We need to choose God and we need to choose Him wholeheartedly. And to choose Him wholeheartedly is not just a simple matter of thinking about it and saying, “Yep! That’s what I want! I want to be like Jesus and I want to go to Heaven and I want to be at His dinner.” It is a matter of saying, “If I am going to choose it, then I have to live it. To choose Jesus Christ is to choose to be like Him and to choose to allow Him to live in me and through me, and to take on everything which is the Lord’s.” That is, to be humble, to be obedient, to serve, and to go to the Cross.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.