Paschal Banquet!

Luke 14:12

He said also to the man who had invited Him, "When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your kinsmen or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return, and you be repaid."

The Eucharist is the Paschal Banquet.  The Host is the Host.  And He is so profligate in His affections that He throws the door wide to everybody, especially to those who cannot repay Him.  We easily forget this and can fall prey to the game of "Squint at the People Down the Pew" in the effort to see if they are being as reverent as we are.  It is good to be reverent, of course.  But the moment we turn our reverence into a bargaining chip at the Banquet ("I thank you O Lord that I am not like other people or even like that guy over there who wears shorts…") is the moment we have taken our minds off God and begun to present our superior wonderfulness to Him rather than welcome those who do not repay us by conforming to what we demand.  Does this mean we should encourage irreverent Masses?  Of course not.  But it does mean that we should encourage charity even when people don't measure up to our standards.  If the Host welcomes them, so should we.

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

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  • Guest

    Excellent reflection as usual, Mark.