IS GOD'S BANQUET TRULY FREE? (Prayer Reflection for 18th Sunday in Ordinary time, Yr.A)

Is God's Banquet truly free? A question that 🤔 got me into deep meditation. If I invite you for my event (say birthday party) to honour my invitation is a choice you MUST make freely and to be there is a COST you will pay to show you love me and truly wants to honour my invitation! Is that same with God's invitation? 🤔 
If your heart raises doubts, read slowly and see what the Word of God says in Isaiah 55:1-3

"Thus says the Lord: Oh, come to the water all you who are thirsty; though you have no money, come! Buy corn without money, and eat, and, at no cost, buy wine and milk. Why spend money on what is not bread, your wages on what fails to satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and you will have good things to eat and rich food to enjoy. Pay attention, come to me; listen, and your soul will live. With you, I will make an everlasting COVENANT out of the favours promised to David."

From the Word of God above the Banquet appears to be free (with the resounding words: "no money" and at "no-cost"). But if it is free, why the words "Buy" used twice as well? Why buy what is free? Let's see what happened at the Banquet organised by Jesus when he feeds the 5000. The Bible tells us in Matthew 14:13-15.

"When Jesus received the news of John the Baptist’s death he withdrew by boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves. But the people heard of this and, leaving the towns, went after him on foot. So as he stepped ashore he saw a large crowd, and he took pity on them and healed their sick. When evening came, the disciples went to him and said, ‘This is a lonely place, and the time has slipped by; so send the people away, and they can go to the villages to buy themselves some food.’ Jesus replied, ‘There is no need for them to go: give them something to eat yourselves.’"

POINTS FOR REFLECTION
1. The first reading above reveals God's Banquet as Covenantal meal. Every COVENANT has conditions what both parties MUST DO to keep the relationship or covenant.

2. It should interest you then to know that the INVITATION to the Banquet of God is ALWAYS FREE but to participate YOU MUST PAY A PRICE- You MUST give up something!

3. The 5000 persons fed in the gospel by Jesus gave up something: "they went after Jesus on foot from the towns". They made this sacrifice because they hungered for the Word of God! And they remained with Jesus from morning to evening! What a great zeal and faith expressed in action! And their faith was rewarded by the food they had in abundance.

4. Gods banquet is free! He invites you freely, there's no restrictions or special "guests of honour", but you must "BUY" you must give up something in exchange! And that is the cost of discipleship. The people were fed with 5 loaves and 2 fish: this was offered or given up before the abundance was experienced.

TASK: Ask yourself: are you ready to pay the price of partaking in God's Banquet? But Jesus has paid the price, you say! Yes, Jesus paid your ransom from the bondage of sin and death, but you must still acknowledge this otherwise you're left out! You acknowledge this by believing in your heart and confess with Faith (Rom.10:9), and also carry your cross and follow Him in Truth and righteousness (Matthew 6:33, 16:24). You must give up something: the evil old ways of life! Otherwise, you will be like the guest in the banquet without a wedding dress (Matt. 22:11).

▪︎Fr SimOne Madu, OSJ.

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6 Comments

  1. What a wonderful Write up
    Goose pimples full my body. May the words of the Gospel bring us everlasting joy.Amen Thank you FR you a gift to our Time

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    1. God bless you for reading. May your experience lead you yo greater encounter. Amen

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  2. This is a wonderful reflection. May God help us to continue to honour his invitations

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    Replies
    1. God bless you for reading. May your experience lead you yo greater encounter. Amen

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  3. May God grant us the grace and strength to always partake in His banquet no matter the cost and wisdom to understand His words, amen.
    Thanks padre SimOne. May God continue to bless and strengthen you, amen.

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