We've just received a great invitation. We've all been invited to an incredible banquet where there will be lots of food, drink, and joy. Where is this banquet? It's going to be on the mountain of the Lord, which is biblical language for Heaven. Yes, this invitation is for all of us to join Our Lord in Heaven for eternity. How do we respond?
Do we respond like the invited guests in the Gospel parable? They had been notified in advance that this wedding feast was in preparation, and should have been ready for it. Instead, when the servants came to summon them, they either ignored them or killed the servants. Is this how we respond to God's invitation to the Heavenly banquet? Do we spend our lives behaving as if God isn't important, putting the things of the earth before Him? When we put our faith in a box, only bringing it out once a week (or less) for Sunday Mass, it says that God's role in our lives is negligible, if not altogether nonexistent. It says that the things of the earth are far more important and what the world offers is more enticing than the eternal banquet that God offers to us.
Do we respond like the guest who was not prepared for the wedding banquet? This guest, when informed about the banquet, did not prepare himself by changing into more formal clothing. Instead, he showed up in whatever ordinary clothing he happened to be wearing that day. Are we like that when we come to Mass? To we take time before Mass to prepare ourselves spiritually to receive Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament? How about making sure to go to Confession on a regular basis to confess our sins and receive absolution? We might make weekly Mass a priority, but still not be prepared to receive Our Lord. We are all a sinful people, and regularly need to approach God with humility, asking Him for forgiveness of our sins. When we receive the Blessed Sacrament with Mortal sins on our soul, we are like the guest who showed up at the wedding feast without the wedding garment. Mortal sins cut us off from God, keeping us from being in a state of grace. We must be in a state of grace when receiving Our Lord in the Eucharist, and only contritely confessing our sins to God in the Sacrament of Reconciliation can restore that grace.
So, how should we respond to God's invitation to the Heavenly Banquet? We must respond with an open and joyful heart. God is willing to give us the greatest gift of all: eternal life in Heaven. No more pain, no more sorrow, and no more sins. Life in Heaven will be a life of eternal joy and praise of God. We will be so joyful that our entire being will want to praise and honor God. This is the image of the Lord's mountain that the prophet Isaiah gives to us.
It's important to realize that all of us have received this invitation, but not all will accept it. God wants all of us to enter into His kingdom, but he also gives us the free will to choose. We can accept or reject the invitation of eternal life through our actions. When we respond like the invited guests and the guest who was unprepared, we choose to refuse God's invitation. Likewise, when we approach Him with humility, admit our sins and failings, and ask his forgiveness, we accept His invitation for eternal life. We may have to do this many times throughout our lives, but God's invitation is always open. We just need to accept it.