28th Sunday After Pentecost

Colossians 1:12-18
Luke 14:16-24
The Gospel for this Sunday is about the man that throws a great banquet and everyone has an excuse and decides not to come to the banquet. So the man sends out his servant to try and get people to come but everyone is busy and refuses to come.
This is a great example of the Eucharistic banquet that we serve each liturgy in the church. How many times do we have a liturgy and very few people come or on Sunday when the church is full, very few people come forward at the time of communion to receive the Body and Blood of Christ. At each Divine Liturgy we prepare a great banquet and the Lord Himself invites all to come and partake. The words, “approach with the fear of God, in faith and with love.” Are the words that the priest uses to call the faithful forward to receive this great sacrament. Many people are not prepared due to grave sin, but are not prepared because of laziness in their preparation and hence the reason they do not come forward.
The great Orthodox Theologian Fr. Alexander Schemman once described this very same thing and used this analogy to describe what the Gospel is trying to say. Imagine that you prepare a great meal and invite your friends over. You put all the food on the table and you all sit down and look at the table. What a wonderful spread you have laid out for your friends. After sometime, you gather up all the food and throw it in the garbage and you never eat any of it. This is what happens on Sunday. We prepare the feast and invite people to come, and then when no one comes, we throw it away, in a figurative sense of course. If reception of the sacrament is not the reason we are there, then why are we? What is the purpose of coming to church if we are just going to watch what is going on? Perhaps we should just have a movie shown in the church on that day, and people can come and eat popcorn.
Sadly for years in the Orthodox Church people strayed away from frequent reception of communion. Twice a year was, and for some, still is the norm. We need to do something to change this practice. The grace we are missing is a grace we cannot afford to miss.
We are called to bring the light into the dark world. This light needs fuel to keep burning, that fuel is the Body and Blood of Christ that we receive at the Divine Liturgy. If we do not keep the light burning, who will? And if there is no light, then darkness takes over… And that is unacceptable.
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