Questions about the parable of the Great Supper

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This parable is read on the Sunday of the Holy Forefathers. This is 2 Sundays before the Nativity of the Savior. The parable speaks of the incarnation, in a profound way, and is a fitting preparation for the celebration of it.


"And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. (Luke 14:15)

The holy Fathers explain that Christ was answering the man and teaching what it means to feast with God.


The "man" is God the Father. God is referred to as a man when His love for mankind is emphasized. When His power to punish is alluded to, He is called panther, a leopard, or a bear. (See St John Chrysostom, and Hos 13:7-8)


The Great Supper is God's great economy to man, accomplished through the incarnation. Through the incarnation, we become sharers of Christ's flesh and therefore able the feast with him, and be the blessed ones who eat bread in the kingdom of God"

It is a supper and not a dinner because our Lord came in the last days; supper is the evening meal. This was foreshadowed by the time of day that the Paschal (Passover) lamb was slain, according to the Mosaic Law; in the evening.


The servant is Christ.
Suppertime is the appointed and proper time.
The two callings are this: those that were bidden are the Jews, who were told of Christ through the law and the prophets. Christ Himself accomplished the second calling.


Both represent the love of wealth, and material things. This love blinds a man to the higher, spiritual things. A carnal man cannot comprehend spiritual things.

The piece of ground, or "farm", especially "signifies the man who cannot accept the mystery of faith because he is governed by the wisdom of this world" (Bl. Theofylact)
The ground represents the world, and nature. The man who must go and see his ground sees only nature. He cannot accept spiritual things, such as the birth of Christ from a virgin, the incarnation, turning the other cheek, and in general the entire Christian teaching.

The man who bought the 5 yoke of oxen and tested them represents he who loves material things. He uses his 5 senses foolishly, and with them yokes his soul to the world, with its love of pleasure and lusts. This man also does not understand earthly things, because his mind is ever turned earthward, since oxen are used to till the ground.


The wife is a metaphor for the inordinate attachment to the flesh, and pleasures. Just as a wife is the mate of the husband, the flesh is the mate of the soul. One who cleaves to the flesh cannot please God.

Note well that it is not the marrying of a wife that is condemned, but the putting of a wife (fleshly pleasures) above God ("therefore I cannot come").


This parable was surely aimed at the Jews who rejected the servant who came at suppertime, Jesus Christ.

It also applies to every soul, whether he be Orthodox or not, who is attached to earthy things and pleasures or does not have true, living faith in God. Every man is called to the Great supper by his conscience.


The poor are those blessed ones who are poor in spirit, that is, humble, and willing to hear and obey the message of the Gospel. Such ones may have many spiritual and physical defects, but none of things will keep a man from the Kingdom of God if he believes.

The halt are those who do not follow an upright journey throughout life. They are like a man who cannot walk in a straight path because of his infirmity. Such ones can be made completely whole and be able to walk again, if they heed the spiritual words of the Gospel.

Those who are blind have no brightness in their minds. They too can be enlightened, when they accept the light which illuminates them.


With these words the Lord indicates the calling of the Gentiles. The Jews were also halt and blind, but within the "city", that is, they were those whom the Lord came to first. The Gentiles were outside the city, in the hedges and highways


"Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers", Vol. 3, Pp. 164-189
Blessed Theofylact, "The Explanation of the Gospel of St. Luke"
St Gregory the Dialogist, "Forty Gospel Homilies"

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