The National Catholic Review
Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (B), Aug. 17, 2003
“Come, eat of my food” (Prv 9:5)

It is so easy to get a meal nowadays. You don’t have to “waste” time shopping and preparing. All you have to do is stop at a fast food place. You don’t even have to go in. Just stay in the car, drive through, and food is handed to you. But things are quite different when you are invited to a banquet. You may not have to prepare the food, but you certainly have to prepare yourself. You may even want to wear new clothes. A banquet is an event.

When you are invited to a banquet, you seldom ask about the menu. If it is a genuine banquet, you presume that the food will be of high quality and expertly prepared. Besides, the point is not the quality of the food served, but the significance of the event, the host and any honored guests.

Wisdom spreads out a banquet to which we all are invited. The meat and wine that she offers is insight and understanding, and we would be fools to turn down her invitation. Jesus too spreads a banquet before us. He offers us himself, his flesh for the life of the world. If we turn down his invitation, we would be more than fools. We would be rejecting life itself.

Unfortunately, sometimes we prefer the fast food to the banquet. We would rather stay comfortably in the car than have to go to all the trouble of reform or renewal. We are satisfied to continue in ignorance. It has served us to this point. “Why fix it if it ain’t broke?”

Why? Because ignorance is not bliss. Because we cannot long survive on the fare of foolishness. Because whoever eats at the banquet of the Lord will live forever, and we are all kindly invited.

Dianne Bergant, C.S.A., is professor of biblical studies at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.I

Readings: 
Readings: Prv 9:1-6; Ps 34: 2-7; Eph 5:15-20; Jn 6:51-58
Prayer: 

• What really threatens your faith? Why do you think this is? What can you do about it?

• Marian devotion has decreased lately. What image of Mary might be relevant for our time?

• What makeover might be necessary to prepare you for the banquet to which you have been invited?