“Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!” This is a line taken from the movie Auntie Mame (1958) starring Rosalind Russell. While many people will use this quote to emphasize that we need to live life to the fullest—go for the gusto, so to speak—I want to apply this phrase to what is unfortunately too many people’s attitude toward the Holy Eucharist.
Each and every Sunday (and, in fact, every day) we are invited to the Banquet of the Lord’s Table: “Do this in memory of me.” We have the precious opportunity to receive the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. As Catholics, we (should) believe that the Holy Eucharist is Jesus’ Real Presence given to us as our spiritual nourishment for life’s journey.
How do we respond to this invitation? After all, it is always our choice in the end. By the current Mass attendance statistics in parishes, the response is abysmal at best. Apathetic is probably a good adjective to use describing today’s average Catholic. Sadly, less than 15% of Catholics in our area attend weekly Mass. I have heard the many, many excuses why some people choose not to go to Mass:
“I’m too busy”
”All the priest does is talk about money.”
“Father was mean to me.”
“The bishop closed/merged my church.”
“The priest is too conservative/liberal/political/boring/egotistical/irreverent/long-winded.”
“I don’t agree with the Church’s teaching on . . . .”
“I have other things to do.”
“I am spiritual but not religious.”
“I’m divorced and not properly married in the Church.”
I can’t force anyone to come to Mass, to receive the Holy Eucharist, to participate in what is the true lifeblood of any parish. Neither could Jesus:
Jesus again in reply spoke to them in parables, saying "The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come. A second time he sent other servants, saying, 'Tell those invited: "Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast."' Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged and sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, 'The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.' The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests. (Mt. 22: 1-10)
We are all invited: saint and sinner, rich and poor, black and white, sophisticated and simple.
Unfortunately I realize some may not at this time be able to receive the Lord in the Holy Eucharist for various reasons. Come anyway and pray and worship with us! Pray that the Lord will show you a way to get your situation in life in proper order. Learn about making a spiritual communion.
Come to the banquet of Eternal Life! Be spiritually nourished! Don’t starve yourselves!