Gospel for Tuesday, 31st Week in Ordinary Time
Old Calendar: St. Charles Borromeo; Sts. Vitalis and Agricola, martyrs
From: Luke 14:15-24
Parable of the Invited Guests
 When one of those who sat at table with Him (Jesus) heard this, he said to Him, "Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the Kingdom of God!"  But He said to him, "A man once gave a great banquet, and invited many;  and at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, `Come; for all is now ready.'  But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, `I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it; I pray you, have me excused.'  And another said, `I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them; I pray you, have me excused.'  And another said, `I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.'  So the servant came and reported this to his master. Then the householder in anger said to his servant, `Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and maimed and blind and lame.'  And the servant said, `Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.'  And the master said to the servant, `Go out to the highways and hedges, and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.  For I tell you, none of those who were invited shall taste my banquet.'"
15. In biblical language the _expression "to eat bread in the Kingdom of God" means sharing in eternal beatitude, of which this great banquet is a symbol (cf. Isaiah 25:6; Matthew 22:1-4).
16-24. If God invites someone to know Him in faith, he should sacrifice any human interest which gets in the way of replying to God's call, no matter how lawful and noble it be. The objections we tend to put for- ward, the duties we appeal to, are really just excuses. This is why the ungrateful invitees are blameworthy.
"Compel people to come in": it is not a matter of forcing anyone's freedom -- God does not want us to love Him under duress--but of helping a person to make right decisions, to shrug off any human respect, to avoid occasions of sin, to do what he can to discover the truth.... A person is "compelled to come in" through prayer, the example of a Christian life, friendship-- in a word, apostolate. "If in order to save an earthly life it is praiseworthy to use force to stop a man from committing suicide, are we not to be allowed use of the same force--holy coercion -- to save the Life (with a capital) of many who are stupidly bent on killing their souls?" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 399)
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.