Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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Memorial of Saint Charles Borromeo (†1584), bishop of Milan

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 14, 15-24

On hearing this, one of those gathered round the table said to him, 'Blessed is anyone who will share the meal in the kingdom of God!'

But he said to him, 'There was a man who gave a great banquet, and he invited a large number of people.

When the time for the banquet came, he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, "Come along: everything is ready now."

But all alike started to make excuses. The first said, "I have bought a piece of land and must go and see it. Please accept my apologies."

Another said, "I have bought five yoke of oxen and am on my way to try them out. Please accept my apologies."

Yet another said, "I have just got married and so am unable to come."

'The servant returned and reported this to his master. Then the householder, in a rage, said to his servant, "Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in here the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame."

"Sir," said the servant, "your orders have been carried out and there is still room."

Then the master said to his servant, "Go to the open roads and the hedgerows and press people to come in, to make sure my house is full;

because, I tell you, not one of those who were invited shall have a taste of my banquet." '


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Gospel passage continues to report the table conversation Jesus holds in the house of the Pharisee who had invited him. One of the diners, probably struck by the wisdom of this young teacher, intervenes, expressing the joy of being at table in the kingdom of God. Actually, a banquet is a common image in Judaism for designating the happiness of the messianic reign. And in his preaching, Jesus frequently refers to it, as he does on this occasion. In fact, he compares the kingdom of God to a large banquet to which many guests are invited. But when the servants are sent to call them, all refuse. Each one has a very understandable excuse: the first has acquired a field and must go and sell it; the second has bought a pair of oxen and must try them out; the last must celebrate his marriage, so it is obvious that he cannot go. All share the refusal of the invitation because of important previous engagements. One could say that they have good reasons. Nevertheless, in going a little deeper, one understands that behind these refusals is a clear decision of those invited: to give priority to their own commitments (selling a field, trying oxen, celebrating a marriage) rather than to the invitation to a banquet. Undoubtedly their reasons are serious, but - and here is the main point of the parable - the choice for the kingdom of God is far more serious. This is the only really crucial choice in life: namely, the response to the demands of friendship, familiarity, and intimacy that God addresses to men and women. With this parable, Jesus refers back to this priority. Yes, everyone needs God’s friendship. And great is the responsibility of those who must offer it to people - I think of the mission of the Church in the world - but also decisive is the responsibility of those who hear the invitation and welcome it. Those who are satisfied and full of “self” have trouble to break away from their own things. But whoever is poor, weak, and desperate welcomes with the greatest promptness the invitation of the servant (this time, there is only one servant: Jesus) sent by the master to fill the hall ready for the banquet. These last, truly in need of food and of love, run as soon as they hear the invitation. And the hall is filled with guests. To these, Jesus had said, “Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God” (Lk 6:20).