Twenty Eight Sunday in Ordinary Time

It’s usually nice to receive a wedding invitation, especially from someone we really like. It means a lot to us and it also shows that the person thinks highly of us; and wishes us to be present on such an important occasion for them. For this reason, we should reply; saying if we are coming or if we are not. The story in the gospel today is very strange and hard to accept. The king sends out invitations, when they find excuses for not coming, he responds with anger and then at the end when he invites everyone and finds one person without a wedding garment, he throws him out into the darkness. Flannery O’Connor, one of the great catholic fictional writers of the 20th. Century defends her sometimes violent stories with the phrase: “In the land of the deaf you have to shout”. In a very secularized world, that has lost the sense of God you have to shake people into awareness. This is the balance between the use of a carrot or a stick in tackling Covid-19. Maybe we need to be more forceful, so that people will follow the guidelines. Jesus compares the kingdom of God with a great wedding feast; the Father of the groom invites many wedding guests; but sadly, those who are invited do not come; they promised to come, and they do not. They all had excuses and they had more important things to do. The great feast is ready, the musicians are in place, but the wedding venue is empty. The host sends out his messengers again; this time they are insulted, mistreated and even killed. Now you might say, if that is the type of people they were, he should not have invited them in the first place. But that conversation is for another day. Eventually he sends messengers out to invite everyone they meet, on the street, at the crossroads, to come to the banquet. Strangers, our neighbours, poor and rich, criminals and honest peole, young and old. They come and they take the places of those who were invited and did not come. This could be our story, we could be like the first ones, God pours out his goodness and generosity and we respond with indifference, with ingratitude and broken promises. Maybe we are the other ones who were not on the first list but get invited later. We can ask ourselves: what have I done with Jesus’ invitation? did I treasure it or have I forgotten it or lost it? Are there so many other things I have got to do, that I have not got time to respond? Is the invitation at the bottom of the drawer, where I may never see it again? It is never too late, let us open it today, and say: “here I am Lord, I’m coming’! Let us remember at the table of the Lord everyone is welcome, no one is excluded, Every time we sit at our table, with family, with friends or with strangers, with saints or with sinners, Jesus is there, the silent listener, the invisible guest, our faithful friend. Let us not just be called, let us be chosen.

I knelt to pray but not for long, I had too much to do. I had to hurry and get to work; for bills would soon be due. So, I knelt and said a hurried prayer, and jumped up off my knees. My Christian duty was now done, my soul could rest at ease. All day long I had no time to spread a word of cheer, no time to speak of Christ to friends; they’d laugh at me I’d fear. No time, no time, too much to do, that was my constant cry. No time to give to souls in need; But at last the time, the time to die. I went before the Lord, I came, I stood with downcast eyes. For in his hands God held a book; It was the book of life. God looked into his book and said, ‘Your name I cannot find I once was going to write it down; but never found the time’!