Posted on Sep 17, 2019

15 September 2019

There is an old African folk tale about a mighty chief who planned a great feast.

He invited everyone in the village. Everyone wanted to come.

He placed only one stipulation on each one’s attendance.

Each person who came had to bring a jug of wine.

Each jug of wine would be poured into a vat at the feast and everyone would

drink from the common vat.

One villager didn’t have a jug of wine and thought to himself:

“With so many people pouring their jugs of wine into the large vat,

no one would notice if one of those jugs was merely water.

Surely, no one would notice the difference in taste.”

On the day of the festival everyone came, As each person arrived he or she went up to the vat in the center of the tribal grounds and poured his or her jug of wine into the vat.

When the chief saw that everyone had arrived,

he stopped the music and dancing and extended words of welcome,

then he ordered that everyone should take a cup of wine from the vat in preparation for a toast.

The king spoke, all raised their cups to their lips, all drank.

But there was something strange about the wine. The puzzled chief took another sip.

It didn’t taste like wine at all, but water.

Each villager had had the same idea, that one small jug of water wouldn’t spoil the wine

–each had received what each had given.

Last weekend in the gospel, Jesus spoke about the cost of discipleship–that sooner or later,

following Jesus has to cost us something.

This weekend, Paul says in the second reading that God was patient with him,

waiting until the day that Paul was ready to pay his dues, to become a disciple.

In the gospel, the heroes of the stories, come to their senses and realize their need for God,

their need to do what it takes to be found.

Three things for each of us who come here this weekend:

1) This parish, this community, this graced life in Christ doesn’t work if everyone thinks someone else will bring the wine,  I don’t have to put in anything.  It just doesn’t work.

2) God has probably been patient with each of us, waiting for us to recognize that it was

 time for us to pay up,  to come to our senses, to do what needed to be done.

3) That weekly attendance here, is part of the cost of discipleship. 

That it takes a commitment not just to come when it is convenient, but a realization that I’m called to bring the wine for every Mass, every weekend.

It was Jesus’ greatest joy to be joined to those, not who were perfect, but who realizing their imperfection, came to love him and give themselves to him.