An Unappealing Invitation
28th Sunday Ordinary Time
October 11, 2020
The King said, “Behold, I have prepared my banquet…everything is ready; come to the feast!” Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business.
This Sunday’s parable about a king who threw a big wedding party is very puzzling. Why in the world would so many people ignore his wedding invitations? You might think they would be honored to be invited by the king. At the very least, they ought to have been afraid to turn the king down! He even sends the invitation out a second time and gets refused again. This certainly seems like very odd behavior.
The only logical explanation must be that the invitation did not look very valuable to those who received it. Working on the farm or tending their business mattered more to them. So often, our Lord invites us to his banquet, and we refuse him, because we don’t realize how valuable that invitation really is.
Each day, Our Lord serves up a wedding banquet for his friends, and it is called “the will of God”. He wishes us to take a seat at this fine table he has set and to give thanks for what we are being offered. But like spoiled children, we often refuse the invitation because we are afraid that the food being served will not be to our liking.
It is true, some of the foods the Lord dishes up at our daily meal are in the “brussel sprouts” category, or foods most of us dislike intensely. The Jewish Passover always included “bitter herbs” (horseradish) as a reminder of the slavery that they had been rescued from; suffering will be a part of our meal too. But it will also usually include meat, wine and a dessert (work, pleasure, and joy). Actually, the Lord usually serves up a pretty balanced diet to us depending on what our spiritual needs are at the moment, though at times one food or the other will predominate.
Many people go only for the dessert menu in this life (a diet that eventually makes them very sick). They don’t trust the Lord and refuse the “balanced diet” he offers, even though his way is best. So they reject his many invitations to enter into a relationship with him, join the Church, read the scriptures and reform their lives.
Of course, whether we like it or not, life tends to give us the bitter herbs anyway, no matter how many desserts we order. But when we are in a relationship with God, he makes even the bitter herbs work to good in our lives. Accepting his wedding invitation now and giving thanks for the food he offers us prepares us for the real thing: the wedding banquet in heaven that will never end.