28th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 11th October
There is usually great excitement when we receive an invitation to a wedding especially if it is someone we know well. The anticipation building up to the day is not only about buying the right gift or wearing the right clothes but rather the sense that we will witness the commitment of a couple who love each other. There is a recognition that the commitment they make is not only for their good but for the good of the whole community and future generations. They promise fidelity to each other and a responsibility to care for others. The sense of the commitment between a man and a woman is the mutuality between all of humanity which becomes evident not just for the good of the couple but so that God’s love may be manifest in the world.
The wedding scene in the Gospel for this weekend takes an interesting twist on this familiar story. In fact, it is those who are invited who not only refuse to attend but actually take it out on the messenger. In this, the King is being portrayed as so angry that he not only dispatches those who treated his messengers so badly but insists on bringing in anybody to celebrate the feast that has been prepared. There is the insistence that what is offered is not only for the chosen few who believe they have no need to attend. Yet we can still wonder about the person without a wedding garment. I think that while good and bad people are press-ganged into the celebration there needs to be a response on the part of the person to a change of life. There is a need to be receptive to what is on offer.
In these COVID times when we become used to limited numbers able to attend Mass on Sunday and the need to be a social distance from each other, this Gospel stands as a stark reminder of a God who seeks us out before we seek God. There is a recognition of that while we may see a distance between us and God. Where the everyday events can seem to take priority over our lives God seeks to bring a deeper meaning to who we are called to be. The central message is that our life is not just something to be done but a reality to be celebrated. At the heart of this message is a belief that God will always seek us out whether we are ready or not. The question is that when we are invited to enter into that life-giving relationship how will we respond?
Fr. John Armstrong