Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the parable of a man giving a great dinner. His sending out of servants to gather those invited parallels our call to be evangelizers.
The risen Lord calls the Apostles and us to go forth and to do the work of gathering in: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations”—that is, draw them into the very dynamics of the divine life.
Hans Urs von Balthasar has noticed that, in the biblical context, mission and identity are tightly bound together. The heroes of Scripture don’t really know who they are until they have received a commission from God. Thus Saul of Tarsus, when he is radically reoriented as the Apostle to the Gentiles, is given the name “Paul.” Being sent, he knows who he is. Paul is not pursuing his own happiness; rather, he is like a letter, written and posted by another. Announcing the risen Jesus is the beginning, middle, and end of Paul’s life, his raison d’etre, his morning refreshment and evening rest. Like his great biblical forebears and like his descendants in the Christian tradition, Paul is a messenger. Nothing more or less.