Sunday October 11th 2020: Read Br Michael’s Gospel Reflection The 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
God requests the pleasure of your company
In both the Jewish and Christian scriptures, the image and symbol of the feasts, weddings and celebrations are used to describe God’s generosity and the joy of the God’s Kingdom.
This is the parable that Jesus offers us today. He is as usual talking to the chief priest and elders. A king sends out not only one set of invitations but two to everyone on the occasion of his son’s wedding. This is a royal wedding and it’s going to be a big event. But when he sends out his servants a second time to invite the guests, they all give badly thought out and weak excuses why they are unable to attend the wedding. The king was furious. He sends his servants to the villages and crossroads to invite every and anyone to the feast. And, we are told, the wedding hall was filled with guests. However, all is not as it seems. The king sees a guest who is not wearing a wedding garment and has this man removed from the celebration. The king has the final word of warning; ‘For many are called, but few are chosen.’
The king in the parable goes through a range of emotions and reactions. At first he is furious when the invited guests refuse his generosity. Then he is overcome with kindness and invites outsiders and strangers to the wedding. Finally in anger and rage he has a guest thrown from the wedding! If the wedding is a symbol for the Kingdom of God and the King is God, what are we today to make of all this today? Are we going to be treated similarly?
The invitation in scripture and from Jesus is ‘come to the feast, the wedding.’ We read this in today’s first reading from Isaiah. ‘The Lord will prepare for all people a banquet of rich food, of fine wine…. we will exult and rejoice because God has saved us.’ So through God’s gracious generosity, all people are invited to this sacred and divine party, just as in the gospel parable. But, and there is always a ‘but’ with Jesus; there is a cost to this invitation. Accepting the invitation to the feast and of being a follower of Jesus comes with great responsibility.
Those of us who are invited to the feast and accept the invitation are not to be careless, casual or complacent. There is nothing automatic about the invitation or accepting it. My personal invitation does not automatically mean attendance and if I do turn up, does not necessarily mean celebration. If I accept this precious invitation from God, then it comes with expectations.
The expectation is that we will arrive for the celebration ready and prepared to join the party, that we will arrive ‘dressed’ suitably for the wedding. What is the best and most appropriate dress code for this banquet? St. Paul himself tells us; ‘You are God’s chosen people, his saints, and you should cloth yourself in genuine compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience… over all these clothes… put on love.. (Col.3.12).
It is through how we live our daily lives and treat others that we prepare for the fullness of God’s Banquet and Kingdom. Each day may we do our best to be genuine, compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, patient and loving. Why? Because Jesus requests the pleasure of our company at meal to be given in his honour.
– Br Michael Moore OMI
|Gospel||Matthew 22:1-14 ©|
Invite everyone you can to the wedding
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