Friday, 09 October 2020 13:56

Invitations refused & accepted

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28OTAWeb374Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a feast for his son’s wedding.

He sent his servants to call those who had been invited, but they would not come.

Next he sent some more servants. ‘Tell those who have been invited’ he said, ‘that I have my banquet all prepared, my oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, everything is ready. Come to the wedding.’ But they were not interested: one went off to his farm, another to his business, and the rest seized his servants, maltreated them and killed them.

The king was furious. He dispatched his troops, destroyed those murderers and burnt their town. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready; but as those who were invited proved to be unworthy, go to the crossroads in the town and invite everyone you can find to the wedding.’ So these servants went out to the roads and collected together everyone they could find, bad and good alike; and the wedding hall was filled with guests.

When the king came in to look at the guests he noticed one man who was not wearing a wedding garment, and said to him, “How did you get in here, my friend, without a wedding garment?” And the man was silent. Then the king said to the attendants, “Bind him hand and foot and throw him into the darkness outside, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.” For many are called but few are chosen.’ (Matthew 22:1-14)

 

The third of the parables addressed to the chief priests and the elders is our Gospel today. Told in the context of a wedding feast given by a great King it’s a parable in three parts.

The first part is about God’s gracious invitation and its indifferent and sometimes violent refusal by those invited first (the religious and lay leaders).

Second part: God’s invitation having been rejected by the first to whom it was offered, is now offered to others - good and bad alike (the sinners).

Third part: the story of the guest without a wedding garment - one who accepts the invitation but does not change - a little like the son in the first parable who said, “Yes”, but didn’t go to the vineyard.

The wedding garment is a symbol of a converted life full of good deeds.

The sense of the last line of the Gospel: “Many are called but few are chosen”, is that all are called to salvation, but it is only had by those who accept the invitation and who change and yield good deeds.

There is no room for complacency.

All three Gospel parables of the last three Sundays are about conversion. Conversion is not just turning away from sin but a radical reorienting of one’s life (turning) towards God. Repentance is not so much being sorry for past sins as a total change of direction. Conversion is impossible for the self- righteous because they don’t believe they need it. Hardness of heart and the refusal to listen are two great biblical sins.

In the three parables, St Matthew is urging his community to seek after true righteousness which comes from conversion and repentance, which flows from allowing the vision of God to fill their eyes and hearts. The kingdom has been entrusted to them, they are to produce its fruit of good deeds through a life of continual turning towards God.

Hard hearts, blocked ears, blind eyes, refusing to change are the path to death.

We are those who choose Life.

Join us in celebrating at home this Sunday using the links below.

pdf Celebrating At Home for 28 Sunday in Ordinary Time PDF (241 KB)           
default Celebrating At Home for 28 Sunday in Ordinary Time EPUB (754 KB)

pdf Lectio Divina for 28 Sunday in Ordinary Time PDF (246 KB)      
default Lectio Divina for 28 Sunday in Ordinary Time EPUB (837 KB)    

 

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