You certainly have friends and you like to be them. You invite them for your birthday; you want them all to be there on “D” day. There will also be your parents, your brothers and sisters, grandpas and grannies, well… everyone you love. Your mom bakes cakes, prepares drinks, you decorate the house and you will have a good time together. It’s a party. In heaven there will also be a very big party. Do you know who prepares it? Who are the guests? Who will participate? Are you one of the guests? Let’s listen to this parable in which Jesus answers all of these questions. You can read it again in the Gospel of Luke in the chapter 14 from verse 16

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WILL ALL THE GUESTS COME?

This man is kind and generous. He lives in a beautiful house surrounded with lush green lawns, trees and flowers of all kinds. He has many servants; he loves them all and his servants serve him with joy. Everything takes place in peace. We often hear laughter, songs but never arguments. It is good to live with this master. One day, he decides to give a reception, he organizes a big meal where there is will be a lot of people. He sends the invitation to all his friends. He buys excellent quality meat, fresh vegetables, the most beautiful fruit, the best cakes. He decorates the most beautiful room in the house and hires talented musicians. Everything is organized so that everyone can rejoice. Finally, the big day arrives, the tables are covered with beautiful tablecloths. Appetizing dishes perfume the kitchens. The servants put on impeccable outfits, everyone is at their post, everything is ready, the guests can arrive. This man is already looking forward to welcoming them. He sends his servant to let them know. The servant leaves without wasting time. He arrives at the first guest. – I’m coming to take you to my master’s feast, please come, everything is ready! – What a shame! I‘ve just bought a field and I have to go and see it. – Is that so! Today? – Yes today! – My master is going to be really disappointed. Can’t you make an effort? – No, I can’t, but there will be another time. Thank him for me anyway. The servant goes to a second guest: – My master sent me to tell you that the big meal is ready and that he is waiting for you. Now is the time to come! We will all be happy together! – I’ve just bought some oxen and today I will take advantage of the good weather to try them out in my fields. – You can try them tomorrow or another day. It’s not urgent! If you do not come, my master is going to be really unhappy. He has everything ready. – No I cannot! But please thank him for his kindness. Excuse me, but I don’t have the time, business is business, it can’t wait! The servant hurries to knock on the house of the third guest. – Oh! But I can’t come, I‘ve just got married. I must take care of my wife – Come with her, she’s invited too! – No! No! We prefer to stay here. We are both happy together. Thank you! We will come another time. Don’t forget to tell him my regrets! The servant returns to his master, very disappointed: – I’m sorry but, they all found excuses not to answer favorably to your invitation. They don’t want to come. The master of the house is very angry. – Well, go quickly, go to the city squares, to the streets and bring here all the homeless, the poor, the sick, the blind, the infirm, bring them all! When the servant returns, he is very happy. All these people have nothing particular to do, nothing is holding them back. They don’t look for excuses and happily accept the invitation. The servant is so happy! He brings the good news: – Master, they have come and there are many of them, but there is still room! – Well, go further, out of town, on country lanes, along hedges, under bridges, and invite anyone you find, insist on their coming. They will all be most welcome at my place! The servant goes in search of those who are on the roads, under the bridges, in vacant lots, hidden under boxes or in nooks and corners: – Come on, friends! Come, for my master invites you for a great feast that is already all prepared! He’s waiting for you! – But look, we’re dirty. We cannot come in this state! – Come as you are! At my master, you can wash yourselves, you will take off your old clothes and we’ll give you clean clothes. – Really? Okay then! Let’s all go! We’ll follow you to your master‘s house! They arrive in such numbers that the great room is full of guests! What happiness for this man to see all these people participate in the big party he has prepared. What joy for the participants! They are all together in the presence of this good man who welcomes them and gives them everything in abundance. This is even more beautiful than they could imagine. And the guests who declined the invitation, do you know what happened to them? Well! The master never accepted them at his home again! The door is closed, and now it’s too late!

1, 2 3, 4 AND YOU AND ME! Are you ready to answer our questions? Let’s see together! Who prepares this party that will take place in heaven? Yes, it’s God! He is the kind and generous man of the parable. The feast, what does it represent? It is an image to make us understand that life in the presence of God will be like a feast, it will be endless happiness, no more tears, disease, suffering. And the servant, who does he represent? Well! All those who make known the invitation of God. For you, the servants today are us. And the guests, who are they? Do you have a little idea? Come on, I’ll answer you with a little word of three letters: A. L. L! Yes! All the men! God invites us all; the big ones and the small ones. You too are invited. We still have to find out who will attend this party? Well, these are the ones who accept the invitation, who say “yes!”

4, 3, 2, 1 AND WE PARENTS! Our children like ourselves receive daily invitations of all kinds in our everyday life on earth. Invitations to discover, learn, earn and consume again and again. Are we taking the time to consider God’s invitation? What value do we give to it? It is according to the importance that we give to this invitation from God that we‘ll talk to our children. It is a solemn invitation and the final decision rests with each, small or big. It has eternal reach. If we ourselves have accepted God’s invitation, we become his servants and our mission is to make it known around us.