The Great Feast: A Parable

The kingdom of God is like a noble lord who threw a lavish banquet. He invited not only the rich but the poor, not only the free but the slaves, not only the acceptable people but the sinners and outcasts as well.

As they sat down at the feast some began to complain, saying, “That person should not be here. They may sit on the floor and feed on the scraps, but they have no place at this table.” The master of the banquet admonished them, saying, “All whom I invite are welcome at my table, and they may eat whatever I place before them.”

But still the grumbling continued: “That person should not be here. They have no place at this table, eating this sumptuous feast!” Once again the master of the banquet affirmed: “All whom I invite are welcome at my table, and they may eat whatever I place before them.”

The objectors rose up from the table, gnashing their teeth, and declared: “I will not eat with that person. Either they go or I do.”

To which the lord proclaimed: “It shall be as you have said. And yet I say again: All whom I invite are welcome at my table, and they may eat whatever I place before them.”

Eugène Burnand, The Great Banquet
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