Thu, August 23, 2018 - You Are Invited
Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and the 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 the king 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. He 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."
The long parable was applicable easy enough for the first generation of Matthew's readers. The citizens whom God invited to celebrate with His Son were the children of Israel. Since they would not only refuse to come but kill the prophets which carried the invitation, the latter is extended to the pagans instead, to all mankind. While race and former religion do not matter among the members of the Church, the garment of baptism does.
There is at least one aspect which can be understood by the reader today as much as two thousand years ago. And that is that everybody is invited. Think for a moment and try to identify the moment when the carrier pigeon delivered that invitation for you.
Wherever we find ourselves right now: be it at the “farm,” at our “business,” or enjoying the “banquet;” mistreating the servants, or sneaking into the party without embracing the implications: we all received the same invitation. And none of us was invited by right, but out of mercy. As an effect of all this, Jesus’ words evoke a particular attitude towards our Christian vocation. For they combine the bottom line of God's wish to see us happy at His side with our freedom. We feel privileged and responsible at the same time. Redeemed and forgiven, but still on our way.
Jesus, I remember and I treasure the beautiful invitation I received. I want to be at Your feast! I also acknowledge the temptation to put secondary things before You. I may think at times that, if I opt for You, I will lose myself. In reality it is the other way round. I have a simple request: Fill my heart with Your Spirit so that the experience of Your peace and joy and order reminds me that life with You is no loss for me, but that Your love makes all my existence shine and sparkle and hum with life. With you I do not lose anything but win everything.