The Second Sunday after Pentecost
In today's gospel, we see that the people in the world have no appetite for the spiritual Supper prepared by Our Lord. The desires of those who were invited were not for the Supper, but rather for worldly things: the concupiscence of eyes, the concupiscence of the flesh, and the pride of life. These, because they did not come, were forever barred from tasting of the Supper.
The poor, the lame, etc. were brought in because they were not attached to the pleasures of this world. Having tasted and found the world lacking in what was necessary to bring them satisfaction, these souls were ready to taste spiritual things.
The things of this world prove a great obstacle to many men. It is, therefore, in our best interest to renounce the world and all its pleasures, but we hesitate to ask this of many because they find it so difficult. Instead, we ask with St. Paul that they strive to use the things of this world as if they used them not.
If we cannot, outright, renounce the pleasures and joys of this life, then at least, we must develop a disinterested use of them. We must be willing to give them up and make a sacrifice of them for the benefit of our souls. Those who have a wife must live as if they did not have a wife, those who have wealth must live as if they did not have it, etc.
We establish a right order in our lives when we hold the spiritual in higher favor than then physical. Whenever there is a conflict between the soul and the body, we must always favor the soul. At first glance, this appears to be a very simple matter. However, we often see that it is much easier said than done. In the tangles of our mind we often deceive ourselves. We imagine that we are doing something for our souls, when in reality it is only for our physical pleasure.
All things are good, because God has made all things. Under this supposition, men often attempt to justify giving the favour to the body over the soul. Evil is not something positive, but is rather a void. It is the lack of right order, or lack of God's grace in our lives. The conflict is seldom about good versus evil, it is most often a conflict of one good versus another good. The conflict is in determining the greater good, and resolving to pursue the greater good at the expense of the lesser good.
Religious take the vows of poverty, chastity (celibacy), and obedience. Wealth is not evil; marriage and procreation are not evil; our free wills are not evil either. These things are all good. The religious sacrifice these goods for greater goods. It is a sacrifice of physical goods for the greater spiritual goods. In this manner, the religious, who have made these vows, potentially avoid having to constantly enter into this conflict. The choice has already been made, and all that is necessary is to follow through with the vows. Those who have not bound themselves by these vows, must frequently enter into this conflict with themselves, over which is the greater good and which they should choose.
Very often, we hear people complain of being confused. They do not know which way to go. It seems that this is not really the case. They, most often, are not confused, but are rather conflicted. They know which is the greater good and which is the better course to take, but they are not ready to sacrifice the physical good in order to gain the spiritual one.
What is necessary for us, is that we taste of the spiritual things and see how truly sweet they are, so that we can make wise and correct choices. Too often, our appetites are for the things of this world because we have not yet discovered, or have forgotten how these material things that are repeatedly indulged in become insipid and eventually repulsive. If we develop a true spiritual appetite, then the desires of the soul will allow us to make greater and greater sacrifice of the physical and increase our spiritual happiness day by day.
The ultimate goal is to be ready to come to the Heavenly Supper when we are invited. We must understand that it will mean the sacrifice of many physical good things. We must be ready to leave them behind, and come when God's servants tell us all is ready and it is time to come.