Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time | Year A
Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a feast for his son’s wedding. He sent his servants to call those who had been invited, but they would not come. Next he sent some more servants. “Tell those who have been invited” he said “that I have my banquet all prepared, my oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, everything is ready. Come to the wedding.” But they were not interested: one went off to his farm, another to his business, and the rest seized his servants, maltreated them and killed them. The king was furious. He dispatched his troops, destroyed those murderers and burnt their town. Then he said to his servants, “The wedding is ready; but as those who were invited proved to be unworthy, go to the crossroads in the town and invite everyone you can find to the wedding.” So these servants went out on to the roads and collected together everyone they could find, bad and good alike; and the wedding hall was filled with guests.’
The wedding was a very significant event for the king and his family. The people invited to the wedding chose to do other things rather than attend. Their preoccupation with their own activities led them to ignore the significance of this event for the king.
This situation belongs as much to our time (if not more) than it did to the time of Jesus. The complexity of our work and responsibilities can be extraordinarily pre-occupying, and may even lead us to regard significant events for others in our lives as a nuisance. We might attend, but grudgingly and with mobile phone turned on and claiming our attention.
The significant events of our lives and those of others are an integral part of the life we have been gifted by God. Commemorating birth, committing to a state of life and celebrating anniversaries, and honouring those who have died are all ways of reconnecting with our human nature and relationships. Participating fully nurtures both our soul and our relationships.
Some of the invited guests in the parable seized the servants and maltreated them. If we are stressed by our pre-occupation with our work, then we may maltreat those who innocently invite us to an event. It won’t be physical maltreatment, but it may be a mean and grudging verbal response which conveys clearly that we will come but really have more important things to do. Nothing is more important than celebrating life, but the pressures of our lives constantly conspire to make that celebration an optional and sometimes unwelcome extra.
The people at the crossroads in the town were time-rich, and willing to come. They were probably money-poor, and this was a welcome feast which they would have thoroughly enjoyed.
Creating space in our lives for the celebration of life honours the God who gave us life.