© Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church 2010

Twenty - eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 15, 2017

A few years ago, a lavish wedding was scheduled at a large cathedral.  The invitations had been sent out, people had RSVP’d and everything was in place.  The bridesmaids had their dresses, the groomsmen had their tuxedos and the the catering was scheduled and paid in full.  About a week before the wedding was to take place the happy couple had an argument and the wedding was canceled.  
They were able to contact all of the invited guests informing them not to come.  All the arrangements were canceled and while some businesses were able to refund the deposits, the caterer and the hotel for the reception were not.  Everything was prepared and so there was the dilemma of what to do with the huge, expensive, catered meal.  Since the Cathedral was downtown near the homeless shelter, the mother of the former bride to be, decided to invite the poor, the destitute and the homeless to the reception, offering them a free catered meal in the banquet hall of one of the most prestigious hotels in the city.
While this is not a direct parallel to the Gospel passage we have just heard, it offers enough of a correlation to let us better understand how the King in the Gospel might have felt when he had a prepared banquet and didn’t know what to do.  However, the greater question is why the invited guests of the king refused to come the wedding of his son and when you get right down to it, they all offered some really weak reasons for not attending.  One chose his farm over the wedding, another begs off over some unnamed business obligation, some simply ignored the invitation, others even beat and kill the messengers of the king.  
Jesus is of course drawing an analogy about how the people of Israel in his time had refused God’s invitation to grow in faith and relationship with God for some pretty poor reasons and that if they were not careful, God, like the king in the story, would some day judge them harshly and severely for their foolish behavior.  The analogy of burning their city, is certainly a veiled reference to the fires of eternal damnation.
The voice of Jesus continues to echo through the many centuries to our ears and our lives, and the examples that made the people look foolish in Jesus’ time, make us look foolish as well when we stop to think about why we push off our relationship with God.  The excuses we tell ourselves include, we work, we travel, we have soccer, football and we’re tired.  The excuses we have for not praying, not attending Mass, not reading the Bible or continuing our religious education are no better than the excuses than the people in the Gospel for today had for not participating in their relationship with God.  But as Jesus warns them about the wrath of God for ignoring the gifts of God once they have accepted them, so He warns us as well.  But rather than live in fear of Hell, it’s better to live in fear that we will do damage to our relationship with God, by turning our backs on what He offers to us willingly, lovingly and with both hands.  
In our own foolish moments, and we all have them, we are deafened by the clamor of our own business, our own foolish way of doing things.  We think salvation is what we do for a demanding, powerful King of a God rather than what this loving God offers us at the wedding feast of Jesus Christ.  So what will we do?  Most of us will keep doing what we’ve always done: foolishly thinking our relationship with God depends on us.  But, what if we said “Yes” to grace, “Yes” to the feast, “Yes” to Christ and made our choices in life based on our saying “Yes”. I think we all know what choice is best and so for our own good, we should RSVP that choice, and do it today.