Looking Beyond


Looking Beyond

Banquets. Who doesn’t like them? Banquets are often occasions of joy and celebration: weddings, anniversaries, reunions, Christmas, Easter, etc. In this weekend’s Gospel, Jesus is invited to a dinner and then uses a parable of a wedding banquet to challenge his listeners to go beyond convention, to see different opportunities to further the building of God’s kingdom.

I have to remember that Jesus is not just speaking of holding a banquet. He is speaking about attitudes,

relationships, expectations and stepping out into the unknown, to act in a way that is counter to prevailing attitudes around us. He challenges us to go beyond popular expectations.

This leads us to a fundamental question: How am I called to live my faith? Is it enough to attend Mass on Sunday, receive communion, say my prayers and then carry on with life? Jesus calls us to a more radical kind of discipleship. Pope Francis expresses this well in Fratelli Tutti: “Human beings are so made that they cannot live, develop and find fulfilment except ‘in the sincere gift of self to others’” (Paragraph 87) We are constantly called to enlarge the scope of our discipleship, to not be content with what is popular, expected, ‘normal’.

Our discipleship should know no bounds, we are called to dream the impossible or improbable as we hear God’s call to us and then respond with generous hearts. Again, Pope Francis says: “Life, for all its confrontations, is the art of encounter. … We, as a people, should be passionate about meeting others, seeking points of contact, building bridges…” (Paragraphs 215-216) The questions that are before us invite us to reflect on our vocations – how am I called to be – a better spouse, parent, child, teacher, nurse, carpenter….; am I called to go beyond my present horizons to serve or volunteer in a different community or country, am I called to religious life or priesthood, how can I best respond to the call to build God’s kingdom of love and peace in our world.

The answers to some of those questions may surprise or scare us, but Jesus assures us that God always provides the means for us to respond to the invitation. We need not fear responding to the invitation. We are not left to our own resources, but have been promised the gift of the Spirit to guide, encourage and support us along this journey of discipleship.

By Richard Beaudette, OMI
Vocation Team