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Pastor's Column

An Unappealing Wedding Invitation

Pastor’s Column

28th Sunday Ordinary Time

October 15, 2023

Photo by Mikhail Nilov

“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.”

from Matthew 22:1-14

How can it possibly be that all these people rejected an invitation to the wedding of a king? I remember that when Prince Charles and Lady Diana got married long ago, my mother actually stayed up all night to watch this live from London (not me: I was happy to be in bed!). Obviously, in the Bible the king’s invitation somehow must look unattractive to many who receive it.

Jesus issues an “invitation” of eternal life to all who are willing to hear and believe in it, yet many do not find this to be a credible offer. Perhaps some feel that there are too many strings attached, or don’t want to make the time commitment or feel that the “gift” they must bring will be too expensive for them. Actually, this wedding banquet occurs every single time we celebrate Mass. If only people could realize what is really happening here, the whole city of Keizer would be present. But as with most things the Lord does, he hides his graces from immediate sight so that we will approach him in faith.

Of course the Lord is a rich king… after all, he literally created and owns the universe and everything else in heaven that we cannot see. One cannot even imagine what he has waiting for those who come to his banquet! Of course, we want to bring him a gift (for example, our lives)! In reality, he is the one who wishes to give a gift to us, one beyond our wildest dreams. The catch is that Christ wraps his invitation in very plain paper; the mailman he uses is often dressed in rags (for example, think of Bethlehem); he may appear as a homeless person or beggar or a neighbor in need (look at Christ the King on his cross). No wonder many are not anxious to attend a banquet like this! But all of this is a disguise to test our willingness to make an act of faith in the great King!

The Mass is another example of this. The Mass is Christ’s own Sacrifice and Sacred banquet itself. Each Sunday the angels are present and the Lord himself, invites us to literally eat his flesh and blood and renew ourselves as eternal children of God, with all the privileges and inheritance that this implies. Here he teaches us through the Scriptures about the essential meaning of life. If only we had the eyes to see the Lord’s invitation for what it really is!

Father Gary


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