Saturday, February 16, 2013

Saturday after Ash Wednesday

"Jesus of Nazareth requests the honor of your presence at a banquet to be given in his honor." These words, printed in fancy script withinan elegant border, are sometimes found in parish bulletins and newsletters, gently reminding people of the blessing, and importance, of Sunday Mass.

We might understand today's gospel as extending a similar invitation. In it, we encountered Jesus at a "great banquet" that was given for him. And we are told that his fellow guests were scored by others as "sinners." Nevertheless, Jesus was happy to dine with them- becasue he loved them,and becasue he wanted them to love him in return. As he explained, "Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do." And that means us.

Jesus wishes for us to also dine at his banquet- the banquet of the Eucharist. We may fear to do so, knowing ourselves to be "sinners." Yes, we do indeed sin, and we should be in a state of grace when approaching Holy Communion. At the same, time, we don't want to view the reception of Holy Communion as a reward for good behavior. Becasue when we present ourselves for Communion, what we're in effect saying is, "I'm sick! I'm in need of the Divine Physician!" And the Divine Physician says to us, "Come and eat," and then feeds us with his Body and Blood- what Saint Ignatius of Antioch called the "medicine of immortality."

(My book of daily meditations for Lent is now available from Ave Maria Press: It is available also at Amazon: )

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