Matthew 22: 1-14
I’ve worked with enough couples preparing for marriage to know that there are a lot of anxieties that come with preparations. The one that often stands out is the wedding list. The dreaded wedding list of who’s invited and who doesn’t make the cut. There are obviously many factors that go into it…our parents believe they have a say in who comes, friends and family, some we are obligated to invite even though we may not want them there. And then there’s the whole issue of who sits with who; you know some relatives can’t sit next to each other because they don’t speak and they may fight and also who has to sit at the back table with the priest, but that’s a homily for a different time! The bottom line, though, is that everyone gets invited, regardless. It’s then up to them to decide what to do; and we know some won’t show and others can’t come, but we invite them anyway.
We could imagine it’s even more complex for the king in today’s parable. He’s not planning just any wedding, he’s planning a wedding for the heir to the throne. This is big stuff and he doesn’t invite just once or twice, but sometimes up to three times in this story. Of course, there are similar things…some are invited for status, some want to be seen, some are probably afraid not to attend, and some are obligated, but again, they are invited. So when the feast is ready and the servants go out to round up the troops, we could only imagine what’s going on in the mind of the king when he enters the hall and no one’s there. How would we feel if all the people we loved and cared about didn’t show??? But once they’re invited, it’s up to them to make the choice.
Sometimes we put too much pressure on ourselves when it comes to that invitation. That it’s all about us; but in reality, it is God, it is the king, that does the inviting and it is only God that change hearts and minds.
Isn’t the same true for the feast that we gather for here? We gather, like them, as a motley crew. We come for many different reasons in this place, invited by God. Of course, some are here out of obligation, some out of fear, others because they truly want to worship and pray, others looking for something. So what we really have to ask ourselves, after the invitation, is what is the disposition of my heart; what is the disposition of my soul when I come to the feast? We could come for all those reasons, and we do, but ultimately God invites us to this feast for something more; God invites us to this feast so that our hearts and souls may be transformed and that we can become the mystery that we celebrate.
We are all invited here and we accept the invitation for many different reasons, and we know some just don’t accept it. But ultimately God brings us here to be changed, to transform the disposition of our hearts and souls. God brings us here to this feast so that we can truly become the gift that we celebrate in this Eucharist.