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
but they refused to come. A second time he sent other
'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. …
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.'
(from Mt 22:1-10)
Pondering the Word …
This parable is pretty easy to
understand. Jesus is comparing the elders to the invited guests that
are too busy to come to the King’s feast. But have you ever
considered how amazing the premise of the parable really is? These
are Jewish leaders who would drop everything and run to the Roman
rulers when summoned. Jews were not supposed to dine with Gentiles,
but the elders were so eager to keep the peace with Rome, I would
bet there were times they knowingly violated that law and sought
God’s mercy afterwards. You just don’t say no to the king.
Think about how this would play
out today. Who are the kings in our world? I know lots of money is
raised for good causes by auctioning off opportunities to have
dinner with this sports figure or that Hollywood celebrity. How
about if we were invited to dine with a king or political leaders?
Those of us blessed to live in freedom may refuse that honor as a
sign of protest, but we wouldn’t likely have our house torched
because of it (although we might get burned on Twitter J). For those
who live under oppressive regimes, ignoring a tyrant’s invitation
could land you in prison or worse.
Christ himself is inviting you to
the feast. I’m not talking about the Eucharist or your house of
worship. I’m talking about the table of the world, the feast for all
humankind. Do you refuse the invitation because you are too busy
with other things? Are you fearful you might get stuck sitting next
to someone who is different from you? Are you ashamed of your
“garment?” Do you think you won’t be accepted? How do you respond
to Christ’s invitation?
Living the Word…
It’s easy to put God on the back
burner, but as Confucius said, “Too often we are so busy doing
the urgent that we do not have time to do the important.” Spend
time this week paying attention to how Jesus is calling you to join
in the feast. Some things set before you at table might not appear
appetizing at first. Don’t be afraid to try new things or converse
with someone you don’t know. Don’t ignore our heavenly King’s
“This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no
sign will be given it.”(Lk 11:29-32)
signs. We like to know where we’re going. It makes us feel like
we’re in control. We often pray to God for a sign to help us make a
decision. Does this mean we’re evil? Praying for God’s guidance is a
wise and good thing, but the trouble comes when we either ignore the
signs we do get or lack the faith to follow where God leads. Maybe
the signs point to something we’d rather not hear or consider.
Perhaps the guidance we receive requires a leap of faith into
uncharted waters. Sometimes, we choose to ignore the signs right in
front of us because they don’t quite match up to our expectations.
Take a good look at your life. Are you ignoring “something greater”
right in your midst?
The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from heaven against
every impiety and wickedness of those who suppress the truth by
their wickedness. (Rom 1:16-25)
people who see natural disasters and strife in the world as God’s
punishment for our wickedness. While God continues to take the rap
for Mother Nature on insurance policies (i.e., “acts of God”), I
don’t pretend to have any idea how God works. But I do know that,
when it comes to a lot of suffering, we surely do bring it upon
ourselves. War, violence, poverty, abuse of the vulnerable…the list
goes on of the things we humans can control and can choose to change
if we really want to. But so often, the truth is suppressed by
greed, the desire for revenge, or millennial-old grievances between
ethnic groups and religions. We might feel there is nothing we can
do, but that is when we need to stand tall and do what we can in our
families and communities. Take the words from 1 Peter 3 and make
them your own. “Always be ready to give an explanation for the
reason for your hope.” Do not be ashamed of the Gospel. Plant
seeds of hope.
Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your
Is God your
friend? Do you consider yourself God’s friend? If you have trouble
with this image, perhaps it’s time to get to know God on a more
personal level. For those whose experiences with God have been
difficult, consider a book like, God’s Passionate Desire, by
William Barry, S.J. For those who count themselves among God’s
friends, what will you do today to let the world know of the
Kingdom’s glorious splendor?
“Woe to you who build the memorials of the prophets whom your
fathers killed…Yes, I tell you, this generation will be charged with
their blood!”(Lk 11:47-54)
Well, this is
topical! There’s been a lot in the US news recently about monuments
and memorials, particularly those of Confederate generals from the
Civil War. We’ve seen images in history books of citizens from
nations around the world destroying statues and walls that
represented oppression and tyranny. There’s a lot of debate and
angst, but the important point is found in Jesus’ words: “This
generation will be charged with their blood.” Seems harsh, but the
reality is that we repeat the same sins over and over again. We have
done little or nothing to remedy the sins of the past, and we still
choose to oppress our fellow human beings, so we too will be held
accountable, not only for our own sins, but because we refuse to
learn from the past. It’s high time we stop getting so caught up in
the idolatry of symbols of nationalism and start heeding the symbol
of the cross.
I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, and you fill me with the
joy of salvation. I acknowledged my sin to you,
my guilt I covered not. I said, "I confess my faults to the LORD,"
and you took away the guilt of my sin.
Turn to God
at all times, especially in times of trouble. Allow God to fill you
with the joy of salvation!
(God’s promise to Abraham)
depends on faith, so that it may be a gift, guaranteed to all his
descendants, not to those who only adhere to the law but to those
who follow the faith of Abraham, the father of all of us.
(Rom 4:13, 16-18)
of this passage has to do with circumcision, but it does make me
reflect on what rules, rites, and rituals I think are “required” to
receive the gift of faith. I know many people--often those who are
poor--whose faith in God’s promise puts my own faith to shame. Do
they dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s?” This is worth
reflecting upon in prayer if we think our adherence to “the rules”
is what makes us righteous.