Episode 411 – Desire to be with God

When God invites you, He wants you to attend by choice. He won’t force us to attend Church. His desire is that we want to be with Him in Church and in Heaven. Attending Church is not about checking off a box of obligation. We can ‘find time’ for anything we desire. God invites us to want to be with Him. The day will come at the Judgement when we won’t have a choice. Let’s desire it now, so we can be ready for Heaven. Ask God to give you the desire, and you will find yourself wanting to be with God.

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My brothers and sisters, in this morning’s gospel, we hear of this great banquet and we know that the banquet that our Lord is speaking of in this parable is heaven. And He says that when the banquet is ready, the servant was sent out to everyone who had been invited and all those who were invited, one after another came up with excuses.

I’ve been married for 24 years, and my favorite excuse is, “I just got married and I cannot go.” He was blaming his wife. You see, ever since Adam, we have been blaming our wives. Men, we have to stop blaming our wives. If we are not in church, it’s not their fault. Can we accept that from this point on?

Nonetheless, excuse after excuse after excuse, and so the Lord sends out His servants. He says, “Bring the poor, the blind, the lame. Go and bring people into my house,” He says, “so that my house may be filled.” You see, my brothers and sisters, when Christ invites us, He doesn’t want us to be forced to come. His desire is that we want to be with Him in church and in heaven.

When we come to church, we have to change the way we think about church attendance. Church attendance is not checking off a box of obligation. We have to stop coming to church because we are forced to come to church.

I have conversations many times with people. Some of you will remember my question. I will say, “What can I say to inspire you to be in church?” “I know, Father, I should be in church more often.” But do we want to be in church? We find time for all sorts of things in our lives that we want to do, our hobbies, our this, our that. If we want something, we find time for it.

Well, I am inviting us all to want to be with God in church and in heaven. Because, at some point, the time is going to come when God says, “Fine, if you don’t want to be there, I will go and find someone who does.”

Now, when the Jews heard this parable, they thought they were losing their privilege and, in fact, what happened? Many of the Jews found themselves outside of the church for those of us who were Gentiles, most of us Greeks. And we found ourselves in the church because there was a desire for the Gentiles to come into the church.

But now we are the native ones. Now we are the ones where Christ is reminding us if we don’t desire to be with God, if we do not desire to be here, then God will find someone who does.

That’s both a blessing and a warning for us because in the story at the end, He says, “Go and compel everyone to come in.” At the end, at the final day, at the judgment, at the end of time, God will say, “No longer does the excuses work. Everyone must come.” And we’re going to find ourselves with God in heaven, whether or not we want to be there.

How many of us, you don’t have to raise your hand, just think about it, how many of us have found ourselves in a situation, maybe it’s a holiday party or something where we just don’t want to be there, but we find ourselves there out of obligation. “Oh, my uncle this, my that,” and we’re miserable. We’re sitting there watching our watch. “Oh, how long until I can go home?”

If you’ve experienced that on earth, I want you just to imagine how torturous that will be in heaven. Because the time will come when we no longer have a choice to be with God, and if we don’t want to be with Him, it’s going to be torture to be there with Him in heaven.

But if we desire Him from now and we find ways to be with Him now in His church as often as we can, then when the time comes for the fullness of the banquet in heaven, we are going to be filled with joy. We’re going to be truly in heaven. Because finally, the banquet will have come and when Christ says, “Come, enter, it is ready,” we’ll be running through the gates to be with Him, instead of saying, “Give me five more minutes. I’ve got a couple of things I got to do down here first.”

Enough of the excuses and enough, no more necessity. Instead, replace necessity with desire. Want to be in church and we’ll find ourselves experiencing heaven from now so that when we get there, we’ll be filled with joy.

So the banquet, my brothers and sisters, is in fact ready on the altar table every Sunday, every liturgy. Remember, we have liturgy every day until Christmas. Don’t fill your lives with excuses. Ask God to give you the desire and you’ll find yourselves wanting to be here and wanting to be with God. Glory to God.

Episode 411 – Desire to be with God

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