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You Are Invited…

By Felicitas Drobig, osu


“You are invited…”—three innocuous little words which nevertheless can stir up a lot of emotions. Maybe we were really hoping for that invitation and were elated to get it. Perhaps we really didn’t want to be invited and were trying to think of an excuse to decline. Invitations can be the pinnacle of social life, a high point, an entry into the “right” circles. But they can also drive home the feelings of blatant exclusion.

I guess, the question to ask is, did our lives ever really change because we were or were not invited? Unfortunately, we often live as if invitations can make or break us. When we think about it, it’s not the invitations that come through the mail, perhaps on fancy stationery, with stamped return envelopes, that are the most important ones. Every day of our lives, we receive many subtle invitations to which we may be totally oblivious.

We are invited to: listen with compassion to the person in pain; to smile at the person across the table from us; to allow the merging driver to merge; to let the pedestrian cross the street; to say a kind word to the homeless person at the corner; to help the frail neighbor with her shopping bags; to practice forgiveness, empathy and encouragement… Every day, we are invited into the poignant moments in people’s lives. Every day, we are invited to be who we really are—disciples of Christ.

That is not to say that it is easy to answer these invitations, if we actually become aware of them. Maybe we are too preoccupied with our own problems or too busy to be aware of what the world around us needs.

A story is told of a man who dreamt that he was walking down a prairie road with Jesus. As they walked along, the man kept pointing out the work he had done. Finally, they came to a large wheat field and the man said to Jesus, “See this field! I worked very hard in it and I did it all for you.” Jesus answered, “That’s nice, but that’s not what I invited you to do.”

And there is another challenge—to answer the invitations we receive daily in the way Jesus wants us to answer them not how we might want to. For example, misery loves company, but we don’t need to accept that invitation. The more we complain about something, the more we invite it into our lives. Answering one invitation only to drop it when something or someone better or more important comes along is not the way, either. We are called to fidelity, no matter what it costs.

It is no less challenging to actually make a decision. Sometimes we might have the tendency to wait and see what will happen. As time passes, the invitations decline until we are only left with one way to go, one we may not even be happy with, but which we chose indirectly because we did not make a decision when we should have.

We are all invited to share our gifts and to be co-creators with God. We are invited to stretch beyond our fears, anxieties and shortcomings, knowing that God is with us. We are unique, so we each receive and understand the daily invitations differently, but we continue to be invited.

Perhaps, it is time to reflect more deeply about all the invitations we receive—those on fancy paper and those written in the script of life. Which invitations will we honour more, the ones that honour us because they give us status, power, prestige, etc., or the ones that identify us as disciples of Christ?

We continue to be invited…



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