When it comes time to celebrate and dance, I am the guy that is sitting with my arms crossed at a safe distance between myself and the dance floor. At every party I’ve been to, I’ve needed the initiative of some generous soul to grab my hand and pull me onto the dance floor. While I secretly like dancing, I’m too shy to jump in on my own.

In today’s Gospel, those who were invited to the feast prefer to enjoy life on their own terms. I often act similarly—invested in my own projects, at a safe distance from the Gift on offer.

The irony is that the gift on offer—that is, the celebration of the Master’s feast—is greater than any gift or project I could create for myself. In the joy of this feast, God reveals to us our true identities. In the words of Thomas Merton, “we are invited to forget ourselves on purpose, cast our awful solemnity to the winds, and join in the general dance.”

—Michael Lamanna, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic of the USA Northeast Jesuit province. He is currently studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago.