October 12, 2014 - 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
Imagine receiving an invitation to an event like the royal wedding of William and Kate. It is a great honor to receive an invitation to such a grand ceremony.
This is the kind of spectacle the gospel is speaking of. It’s surprising that some of the invited guests don’t even bother to respond to the invitation. They make all kinds of excuses not to attend.
I’m not ready. I have to tend to my farm. I have to tend to my family. I have to finish the yard. I have to work late today.
Our excuses: I don’t feel like going to church. I don’t get anything out of it. What’s in it for me?
Some of the invited guests mistreat the messengers. They beat and kill them.
Our mistreatments: Who does she think she is? He can’t tell me what to do. Nobody’s gonna make me do anything.
As a result of the excuses and mistreatments, everyone gets invited to the banquet. This helps us understand that the generosity of God’s invitation is extended to all – good and bad alike.
What is so amazing or surprising is that we see someone at the banquet who refuses to wear the proper wedding garment.
You might say, well maybe he didn’t have one and it’s probably expensive. It’s likely that the king provided royal wedding garments for all the invited guests.
Sometimes we are like the one who refuses to put on the royal grab. I’m not going if I have to dress up. I’m only going if I can dress like this.
I’m only going to the Saturday evening mass if it’s at 4 o’clock.
I’m not picking up that songbook when a hymn is announced.
Although salvation is offered to all, not everyone accepts it. Why? Because people are stubborn, hardheaded, self-righteous.
While God’s invitation is given to all, God’s invitation is not accepted by all. And we are told that those who do not accept are blind.
In their arrogance they don’t even realize they have rejected the invitation; or they don’t realize they have mistreated the messengers; or they don’t realize that they are not dressed appropriately for the wedding feast.
So I think one of the things we need to struggle with is this: What does a good response to God’s invitation look like?
It’s easy to give examples of bad responses, but examples of good responses are more difficult. Maybe that’s why many are called but few are chosen.
First there are those who make excuses not to accept the invitation. A better response is to accept God’s invitation. To do what God wants. To answer God’s call.
This involves an openness to hearing God speak to us and to do what God asks as he calls us to some good work or to some church ministry.
Second there are those who persecute the messengers. A better response is to stop persecuting those who bring us God’s voice.
This involves being more charitable to our brothers and sisters. It also involves seeing the face of God in those who try to help us.
Third there are those who refuse to put on the wedding garment. A better response is to start wearing the wedding garment.
I think this involves an openness to worshipping in spirit and in truth, this involves singing at church and praying at church, not because we have to, but because it is our gift to God.
If we open our eyes and ears to God, we will hear the invitation. If we respond to the invitation, we receive the blessing of being at the Lord’s banquet.
Today we ask for the courage to respond. In this way, we just might find ourselves clothed in royal garments, sitting at God’s banquet feast, wondering how we got there in the first place.