A special thank you this week to our friends at St. Lambert’s Parish, Skokie in the congregation.

Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Recently, I saw a newscast. Perhaps you saw it as well, and it was one of those newscast stories that simply not only touched my heart, but broke my heart. It was such a very sad story. The story entailed a little boy in about the fourth grade. The boy had some learning difficulties and some challenges. He had trouble socializing well with the other students in his classroom, and he had a birthday party. And like all kids, he wanted to celebrate his birthday, and he invited his classmates to come to his birthday party.

And no one came. No one came. Can you imagine how the parents felt? Can you imagine how that little boy felt? All excited about celebrating life, and nobody wanted to come and celebrate with him. It really did break my heart, and I suspect the hearts of those who were watching the newscast.

And then, some hope. The story got out, and people responded. It was one of the positive sides of social media. People from all over that town, and that state, and really the country, sent birthday cards to this little boy. They sent gifts to this little boy. They told him, not only was he precious and appreciated, but he was loved. Happy birthday.

God sends an invitation to his people, over and again. He likens the kingdom of God as a wedding feast, when the chosen are invited, and the chosen choose not to come. So the king, God extends the invitation further, always extending the invitation to us. He invites us to come, and to gather, and to come around the table, those who are saints and those who are sinners, those who are young and those who are old, those who are rich and those who are poor, people of all class and race, to gather together, to celebrate Eucharist, what we do today, to gather around the table of the Lord, as the family, as the children of God.

All are invited. Only those who choose not to come, but it’s their choice. So as we gather today, let us be grateful to our God, who loves each of us dearly, as his own children, who invites us to come to the banquet table, to the table of the Lord, to celebrate Eucharist, a word that simply means “Gratitude.” It means Thanksgiving. Thank you, Lord, for the invitation.