Fish Eaters: The Whys and Hows of Traditional Catholicism

Matthew 13:9 "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."

The Great Supper

You'll sometimes see this parable broken into two parables, the first being "The Lowest Seat." It is recounted at the house of a Pharisee, where Our Lord was eating dinner. He'd just gotten done healing a man of dropsy there, and asked the Pharisees and lawyers if they thought it was lawful to heal a man on the Sabbath. They didn't respond. He said this:

Luke 14:7-24

And he spoke a parable also to them that were invited, marking how they chose the first seats at the table, saying to them: When thou art invited to a wedding, sit not down in the first place, lest perhaps one more honourable than thou be invited by him: And he that invited thee and him, come and say to thee, Give this man place: and then thou begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when thou art invited, go, sit down in the lowest place; that when he who invited thee, cometh, he may say to thee: Friend, go up higher. Then shalt thou have glory before them that sit at table with thee. Because every one that exalteth himself, shall be humbled; and he that humbleth himself, shall be exalted.

And he said to him also that had invited him: When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, nor thy kinsmen, nor thy neighbours who are rich; lest perhaps they also invite thee again, and a recompense be made to thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, and the blind; And thou shalt be blessed, because they have not wherewith to make thee recompense: for recompense shall be made thee at the resurrection of the just. When one of them that sat at table with him, had heard these things, he said to him: Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.

But he said to him: A certain man made a great supper, and invited many. And he sent his servant at the hour of supper to say to them that were invited, that they should come, for now all things are ready. And they began all at once to make excuse. The first said to him: I have bought a farm, and I must needs go out and see it: I pray thee, hold me excused. And another said: I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to try them: I pray thee, hold me excused. And another said: I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.

And the servant returning, told these things to his lord. 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 feeble, and the blind, and the lame. And the servant said: Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the Lord said to the servant: Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. But I say unto you, that none of those men that were invited, shall taste of my supper.

from the Catholic Encyclopedia

Passing over the barren fig tree (Luke 13:6-9) which gave a plain warning to Israel; and just referring to the lost sheep (Matthew 18:12-14; Luke 15:3-7) and the lost groat or drachma (Luke 15:8-10), none of which need detain us, we come to the great supper. That this parable concerns the calling of the Gentiles is admitted and is important, as bearing on the universal commission, Matthew 28:19. "Compel them to enter", like the strong sayings quoted above (importunate widow etc.), must be taken in the spirit of Christianity, which compels by moral suasion, not by the sword Matthew 26:52).

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