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- Sermon 28 -
Second Sunday After Trinity. The Parable of the Great Supper
St. Luke XIV, 16-24: "Then he said unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: and sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I got to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said. Lord, It is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you. That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper."
(March 27, 1872)
This parable shows to you My striving to win mankind for Myself and My teaching. On another occasion I said that I have not come to those who are whole, but to those who are sick so that they may be healed. I also showed what they must be like who want to approach Me and My table, that modesty or humility must be the predominant attribute of a person who wants to follow Me. Thus, the further verses of this chapter clearly point out that he who wants to follow Me, must free his heart from all that is of the world and wholly submit to Me.
Therefore, everyone, before he decides to follow Me, should ask himself whether he possesses strength and perseverance to confess and defend My teaching of love and faith under all circumstances. As I have repeatedly reminded you, - to follow Me, to hear My words and live accordingly, is a serious matter which must not be taken lightly, for only those who know the law, or My will, and still offend against it, although their conscience warns them, are responsible in the strictest sense and, therefore, sinners. In view of this, it also says at the end of this chapter: "Who has ears to hear, let him hear!" In other words: My words should not be heard and then disregarded, but should be taken to heart, pondered well, and then complied with!
Coming back now to the actual parable of the Great Supper, we have to begin, as in most cases, with the interpretation of the words, if the deeper meaning of My speech is to emerge clearly. I said: "A certain man made a great supper." A supper is equivalent to an evening meal. What does that denote? First, we have to interpret these two words in more detail before we go into the meaning of the complete term as used by Me in the parable.
The word "evening" denotes the latter part of the day, when work has ended and rest and recuperation is sought during the night until the morning. Thus, the evening is actually the copestone for all the day's activity. And if the evening is to bring rest and satisfaction, all that had been planned in the morning must have been dutifully completed during the day.
It is obvious that a man who has worked and been active all day long is anxious in the evening to regain his used-up strength so as to be able to follow his trade on the following day. And since the body, and indirectly also the soul, by taking in food seeks to replace what has been used up during the day, the physical need, as well as the mental, leads most people to a meal which, since it is taken in the evening, is described as an "evening meal", distinguishing it from the "midday meal", taken at noon and serving a similar need. And since this is not followed by a long rest and
regaining of strength, but by further work, it can only be described as a small rest on the road, whereas the evening meal at the end of the day invites not only to a rest, but also to survey what has been accomplished during the day, giving relaxation and satisfaction only to him who can sitdown at the table with the calm conviction of having done all that his duty or his conscience required him to do.
Having explained the deeper meaning of the evening meal, we are now coming to the second question, namely, why - as mentioned in the parable - someone invited guests to his evening meal.
Here again, the spiritual meaning of this act is the substance that leads to the comprehension of what I wanted to point out through this parable to My disciples and the others present.
The inviting of others to share a meal is due to the important fact that man is not only physical but also spiritual and that, although he often is only concerned with the physical, his spirit and soul do not want to be neglected. This is one of the profound proofs for the duality of man, irrespective of My divine spark which I have placed within you. Even the beasts have this need for fellowship and are only merry and happy in such an association.
Your clever materialists believe that the whole world is only set in motion and stimulated through energy and that it consists of matter - two things they themselves cannot really explain. They should only observe themselves during a simple meal, then they would find out more easily than through any other kind of investigation that man has two sides, a material and a spiritual, each of which can only be well and healthy when the other takes part. They would convince themselves that food is of benefit only when mixed with spiritual nourishment, with love, thus corresponding to both main elements of man. This unconscious desire of most people to partake also of spiritual nourishment, is the reason why they prefer a meal in company to a lonely one, why they have the wish to invite also others to a meal, and why family life provides company at the dinner and supper table.
That this need for merry company can degenerate into extremes and a person can completely forget, or through intoxication even lose, his spiritual self, is not part of our investigation, since I am speaking only of people whose spiritual still dominates their physical. Therefore, we shall skip both these frequently occurring cases where man, created as a spiritual being, sinks far below the animal, notwithstanding his higher destination.
We have now explained the evening meal as well as the reason for an invitation and can proceed to take a closer look at the parable as I gave it to My disciples and the Pharisees.
In the preceding verses of this chapter you were shown how I wanted to give the Pharisees and notables a hint that modesty -and not pride - is a credit to man. I mentioned that it is better for an invited guest to take a seat at the lower end of the table rather than risking being shamed through a rebuke. I said to them: "Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted!" In other words: Do not let your self-love judge your moral-spiritual value, but wait for this to be judged by wiser and superior people. Thus you avoid being rebuked; for, whosoever judges himself in this way is already judged.
When I further told them that a man, when he invites people, should combine this invitation with an act of brotherly love, I intended to point out to them that a man should remember his great spiritual nobility in every one of his actions, even the most insignificant.
Therefore, I told them: Do not oblige others to return your act of kindness; for if you were recompensed for it, the effect of your good deed ceases, just as if it had never been done. Therefore, act in such a way - even if you should only earn ingratitude - that the recipient of a good deed can never recompense you, or only to a small degree. Thereby you show that you have followed higher principles and not only worldly interests.
The result of the invitations, as described in the parable, that every invited guest found an exuse not to attend, was to show My listeners how little gratitude and appreciation can be expected when kindness and favours are dispensed to those who do not need them. Thus the one who wanted to give the feast, so as not to have prepared it in vain, was compelled to send his servant into the streets to gather all the poor and lame and thirsty as guests for his feast that it would not be wasted. In this case, the master of the house did not perform an act of kindness to his fellowmen since he had not originally intended to have this type of guest at his table, but he was forced to this step. However, it taught him, in the future, to give more consideration to the spiritual state of people and not to evaluate his fellowman according to his worldly possessions. This, and more, can be interpreted from this chapter since every word out of My mouth is infinite in its meaning. But we shall now turn to the explanation of how this parable is applicable to the present time, or mankind as such, so that you may derive a lasting spiritual benefit from it.
The Great Supper, which I intend soon to prepare for mankind, can easily be explained from what has already been said. I am inviting, and have already for a long time been inviting, all mankind to this evening meal at which, after their work has been done, they can be satisfied with their accomplishments and rejoice at their fulfilled life and, after a spiritual rest, confidently face the newly beginning morning of a never-ending day.
But as the landlord in the parable fared, so do I. Too occupied with their worldly business, most people excuse themselves and reject or avoid My table, where My spiritual celestial bread of love, meekness, gentleness and implicit trust shall be served. And why? Because during their whole life they have indulged in exactly the opposite.
Thus I, too, will have to send My servants who have remained faithful to Me, into the world to seek guests for My. table among the poor, the crippled and lame who, during the course of their life, had plenty of opportunity to practise towards their brothers, if not love, at least tolerance and kindness. Thanks to the fact that they possessed few or none of the good things of this world, they have become more tolerant and amenable and enjoy the foods on My table, since with their sufferings in body and soul this evening meal at the end of a difficult life means at least the end to all their sufferings and privations.
"Lame" and "crippled" must also be applied to the spiritual life of the soul, since there are by far more spiritual cripples than physical. They too will be helped, for these souls - neglected, but not depraved - are more likely to accept the pure, true, spiritual fare than those, who in their selfconceit imagine themselves enlightened and believe they do not need instruction. They will fare at My supper as did the Jews whom I once told, when they did not want to accept My Word, that it would be taken from them and given to the Gentiles.
Thus the Great Supper prior to My advent will separate the worthy from the unworthy. For some
the road to Me will be considerably shortened whilst others will be rejected for a long time and left to themselves until their morning will dawn. And only after they will have worked diligently al through the day, after they will have struggled and suffered, after long lapses of time, - only then will a supper be possible for them, too.
The supper that I shared with My disciples before My departure, had the same purpose as described in the interpretation of this parable. During My life on earth I invited the entire Jewish nation, the Gentiles and everyone who would listen to Me. However, most of them excused themselves, and I was left only with the weak and neglected who, although not with earthly goods, were blessed with spiritual wealth and better capable of carrying My bread, My teaching, into the world. The same situation exists at the present time. So far, no judge nor any notable person has been ready to come to My table where I could serve him the food of a great spiritual world. They all turn their backs on Me, and only those who have suffered great tribulations and have been more or less deserted by the world, are the ones who listen to My Word. Out of their ranks I shall form My work team who will seek out for Me on the roads and behind the hedges those who are even more crippled and needy. Such people are easiest to win for the Kingdom of Heaven. It is easier to lead them to a childlike attitude and trust in Me, because during their life that pride never awakened within them which is usually found in those who, through worldly wealth, have gained a position wherein they think they can deny the spiritual, or do without it altogether.
You, too, should receive this example and parable from My years of teaching as an indication that, firstly, you should put a spiritual mark on every action and, secondly, that only through love, meekness and patience can you awaken trust and confidence. Make sure that peace and satisfaction allow you to enjoy your supper and that you do not have to await the dawning of the great morning of the eternal realm of love with fear and apprehension, when your life's day has ended and you face the great reckoning. Therefore, act every day in such a way as if you would have to depart from the earth today. Ask your conscience every night: "Would I be prepared if the Lord, my God, were to invite me to His supper?" - Only in this way could you slowly, but surely, improving on it every day, build your spiritual house so that it may become, externally as well as internally, the house of a soul ennobled by Me through My divine spark, that will once be worthy and entitled to be called My child, a child of the Lord of the entire creation.
You can see how I am helping you with every text, every verse to spiritualize and refine your inner being so that you may serve Me as a good tool towards achieving the high purpose I had in mind with you when, privileged before so many others, I favoured you with direct instruction to educate you for My purpose and for the great realm of spirits.
Keep this in mind! I cannot repeat it often enough: Endure to the end! And the end will prove to
you that My Words are not transient, but words of eternity as I Myself have been forever, am, and shall be! Amen. (Sermons of the Lord, chap. 28)
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