THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Her Doctrine and Morals
Second Sunday after Pentecost
23 June 2019
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There are three classes of people that were invited to the Heavenly Supper and refused the invitation. The Supper represents the Kingdom of Heaven, God the Father is the Master that has issued the invitations, and Jesus is the messenger asking those invited to come. It is a terrible mistake to choose this world instead of the Heavenly One. It is an insult to the Messenger (Jesus Christ) as well as to God the Father. This example given to us by Jesus is meant to warn us against the various temptations that stand in our way of entering into Heaven.
The first man had bought a farm and was going to see it. The vanity of possessions or dominion consumed him. His farm meant more to him than Heaven. We must guard against placing a greater value upon material things than we place upon spiritual ones. Some of the Father's of the Church tell us that this man represents the Gentile nations that did not know God. They were not spiritual men but rather material men knowing or recognizing only material things. They desire to rule over material things rather than feast in the spiritual glories of Heaven. This man is not completely devoid of civility as he presents a false humility in asking to be excused. It is a false humility because his actions are not in conformity with his words. If he were truly humble he would leave the pride of dominion behind and joyfully run to the Heavenly Supper.
The second man had obtained five yoke of oxen and felt compelled to go and try them. He is consumed with curiosity. The five yoke represent our five senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. In considering just the sense of sight we know that our eyes are never filled with seeing. The more we see the more we want to see. The things of this world are beautiful and fascinating to behold, but they are nothing compared with the delights of the Kingdom of Heaven. We must guard against an unrestrained curiosity of the things of this world especially if it interferes with obtaining the knowledge of Heaven that is essential for us. Curiosity reaches its most perverse level when we are always desirous of prying into the lives of our neighbors. We want to know all the secrets of their lives while we know nothing or very little of our own true selves. In the eyes of some of the Fathers of the Church, this man represents the Jewish people. These are ever curiously seeking and manipulating others, all the while neglecting the discernment of their own souls and what must be done to save them. This man also presents a false humility. He appears to be humble in asking to be excused, but he likewise fails to put off his curious pride and humbly enter as a simple or ignorant child into the Kingdom of Heaven. It is not important for us to experience everything that this material world has. In fact, the less of this world that we see, hear, smell, taste or touch, the better off we are. Let us direct our senses to the spiritual realm and seek to see, hear, etc. all the things of Heaven.
The last man had married a wife and therefore could not come. This man represents the pleasures of the flesh. Bodily pleasures are more important to this man than all the pleasures of Heaven. Bodily pleasures are good and serve a purpose as do material possessions and the experiences of the senses, but these pleasures tend to become all-consuming. We see the ill effects of the pursuit of physical pleasure in the ruined lives of addicts of every description. The pursuit of pleasure makes men become worse than beasts. Lives are ruined by the unrestrained pursuit of physical pleasure. Families are destroyed, wealth is squandered, and reputations are ruined by this violent demon. Some Fathers of the Church suggest that this man represents heretics. Heretics take something good and use it in an evil manner. The pursuer of pleasure takes good pleasure that God has given us and uses it to offend God. The Heretic takes the Word of God and uses it to offend God. Quite often the heretics seek physical pleasure above or instead of spiritual joys. They substitute bodily pleasures for the pleasure of the soul. We may also consider that the heretic picks and chooses only what he likes or wants and ignores or discards all the rest. This is just like the addict seeking his chosen pleasure more than the necessary food, clothing or shelter for his body. The happiness of marriage is good, but it can never replace the happiness of Heaven. This man was the worst of the three men because he did not even fain the appearance of humility. He did not even ask to be excused. Those consumed by any kind of passion or lust lose all sense of decency and civility, hence become completely lost in pride and vanity.
We must all strive to avoid imitating these three classes of men. There is, however, another class of men that were invited. These heard the invitation and responded readily and wholeheartedly. They did not allow anything to hold them back from entering into the Kingdom of Heaven. These are the men that we should eagerly strive to imitate and follow.
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