“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.” ― Rabindranath Tagore
Gospel Text: (MT 22:1-14)
Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and elders of the people
in parables, saying,
"The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who gave a wedding feast for his son.
He dispatched his servants
to summon the invited guests to the feast,
but they refused to come.
A second time he sent other servants, saying,
‘Tell those invited: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet,
my calves and fattened cattle are killed,
and everything is ready; come to the feast.”’
Some ignored the invitation and went away,
one to his farm, another to his business.
The rest laid hold of his servants,
mistreated them, and killed them.
The king was enraged and sent his troops,
destroyed those murderers, and burned their city.
Then he said to his servants, 'The feast is ready,
but those who were invited were not worthy to come.
Go out, therefore, into the main roads
and invite to the feast whomever you find.’
The servants went out into the streets
and gathered all they found, bad and good alike,
and the hall was filled with guests.
But when the king came in to meet the guests,
he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment.
The king said to him, 'My friend, how is it
that you came in here without a wedding garment?'
But he was reduced to silence.
Then the king said to his attendants, 'Bind his hands and feet,
and cast him into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’
Many are invited, but few are chosen."
In the parable, the king does this because the invited guests refuse to come. In the parable there are three responses to the invitation. One response is to ignore the invitation. These people went instead to their farm or business. Another response is open hostility. These people mistreat and even kill the servants that the king sends. The third response is coming to the banquet but not being appropriately dressed. If we correspond the invitation to the wedding feast in the parable to the invitation by Jesus to follow Him to the kingdom of heaven, we see all three responses today.
Do we at times fall into one of these categories? That's the question this parable presents to us. The invitation is there. It doesn't matter whether we think we're too far gone, or we think we don't have the proper pedigree. God is still calling us and everyone to Himself! Listen to what God promises in our first reading for Sunday from Isaiah (25:6-10a): "On this mountain the Lord of hosts will provide for all peoples ... On this mountain he will destroy the veil that veils all peoples, ... he will destroy death forever. The Lord God will wipe away the tears from every face." God is telling the Israelites that He will do this for "all peoples!"
So, what is our response? Are we willing to see the kingdom as more important than what the world tells us is important? Are we willing to respond to the love God gives us through Jesus Christ? Are we willing to be changed by our relationship with Jesus? If we worry about what kind and how much of a response we can make, listen to St. Paul in our second reading from Philippians (4:12-14, 19-20): "I can do all things in him who strengthens me." God, in His love not only invites us to the heavenly banquet, but He gives us what we need to respond to the invitation! RSVP today!