An old couple, having been married almost 60 years, died in a car crash. They had been in good health for the previous ten years mainly due to the wife’s interest in health food, and exercise. When they reached the pearly gates, St. Peter took them to their mansion which was decked out with a beautiful kitchen and master bath suite, Jacuzzi and lavish buffet breakfast. “How much can we eat?” asked the old man. “Don’t you understand?” Peter replied. “This is Heaven, it’s all free!”

After a sumptuous breakfast the old couple went to the clubhouse of Heaven’s extensive golf grounds and saw the lavish buffet lunch. “Well, where are the low-fat and low-cholesterol tables?” the old man asked timidly. Peter replied, “That’s the best part…you can eat as much as you like of whatever you like and you never get fat and you never get sick. This is Heaven.” The old man looked at his wife angrily and said, “This is all your fault. If it weren’t for your bran muffins and sugar-free diet, I could have been here ten years ago!”

Are our “banquet halls” full and vibrant? What do we do to make sure that the “banquet halls” of our churches are filled with people on Sunday mornings? Are we concerned enough to do something about it if they are not full or lively? The first part of the parable has some strong connections with our worship services. Does not
God invite us there? Aren’t we also called to be the Lord’s messengers who are instructed to go and tell the invitees (the whole world) that everything is ready? Or do we absent ourselves because we have other “pressing” business that we think is more important? Do we remain mired in oppressive attitudes and discriminatory relationships even if our bodies are in Church? Do we ever prefer revenge to forgiveness? Do we see victimization of others and blame the victim? We must all work with God to rid ourselves of such attitudes.

Fr. Joseph Dovari