|The Wedding at Cana by Veronese|
Life is choices. Ultimately, the Lord of heaven and earth allows each of us the freedom to choose whether we will attend the eternal wedding feast.
The Bridegroom will be there, of course, surrounded by all those who were wise enough to accept the invitation. The celebration will roll on and on. Like a wonderful family reunion, brothers and sisters of all generations will gather around the Father's banquet table.
The only requirement for admission is our personal RSVP: In French, "répondez s'il vous plaît," literally means "Respond if it pleases you." So the only question is whether it pleases us to accept the invitation or not.
No one else can answer the question for us. No one can sign our name on the response card. We are given a certain number of earthly days to accept or reject the invitation, but the clock is ticking.
At a certain point, if we dally too long, the Wedding Feast will go on without us. If we ignore or disregard the invitation, the Bridegroom will respect our freedom and will have no alternative but to leave us on the outside looking in. If we arrive late and knock on the door, His seemingly harsh words--"I do not know you"--will simply echo and confirm the "It does not please me to attend" which our lukewarm lack of response had previously indicated.
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However, if it does please us to accept the invitation, we will enter into the most perfect of celebrations. Face-to-face fellowship with our favorite patron saints and intercessors, as well as reunion with all of our loved ones who wisely kept the oil of faith burning in their lamps. In the Father's house there are many rooms, indeed, and there is an "open table" for each of us.
All of the glimpses of peace and joy we have experienced here on earth will open onto the total fulfillment of all our desires at this wedding feast. Our hearts will overflow with the love shared by the Bridegroom and his bride.
But the request for an RSVP from the Bridegroom has a due date. We may have until the 11th hour of our life to utter our "yes." However, as an old joke painfully points out, some of us may well die at 10:30.
The party inside will be utterly glorious, whereas outside there will be only wailing and grinding of teeth. Isn't this the "acceptable time" to embrace the "day of salvation" once and for all (2 Cor 6:2b)?!