October 9, 2011: 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
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.” (Matthew 22:1-10.)
Jesus continues talking to the church leaders, using a story (parable) to illustrate his message. The king represents God and the son is Jesus. In Jesus’ culture, people received an invitation and then they received an announcement that the feast was ready, so they had two opportunities to accept the invite. Some people ignored the invite and went about their daily tasks. Some reacted violently to the servants sent to invite them. Jesus is comparing the church leaders to both these types of people. They didn’t recognize God’s call in their lives nor recognize God’s son, Jesus. They were intent on following church laws but not in learning more about the person of Jesus. Jesus finally invites the Jewish poor who were otherwise excluded from society. These guests accepted God’s invitation to turn away from sin and learn more about Jesus (by attending the feast).
If we are invited to a birthday party or a friend’s house for lunch, the person who invites us is asking out of kindness and generosity. It’s up to us (and our parents) to accept the invitation and attend. We need to make time to attend, perhaps get a gift or card or even bring dessert. We may meet new friends at the event. We build relationships that last beyond the party. When we accept God’s invitation to pray, attend church and make new friends, the invitation becomes a life-long relationship with God, his son Jesus and with the whole church community. Will you accept God’s invitation?