The reading for this week takes you on a manic journey of sorts. We are given a picture of a king who invites many people to his son’s wedding. Those people ignore the invitation, and some even harm the servants that are sent out. The king then is enraged and sends troops to destroy those who mistreated his servants! However, then the king tells his servants “invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’ Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so, the wedding hall was filled with guests”. Well that’s a nice way to end, but then, a man is seen not wearing the appropriate wedding garb and is thrown into the darkness and there was “weeping and gnashing of teeth”.
What strikes me in the first part of the reading is the “But they made light of it and went away”. Our world is filled with such noise and distraction today, and we often make light of what the Kingdom is calling us to do, not because we do not want to do it, but because it’s lost in all the noise. I listen to my students every Sunday talk for over an hour about how much anxiety they have in their lives, between school, and extracurricular activities and all the pressures of being a teenager in 2017. How do they know to recognize God’s call to them? How do WE know to recognize God’s call to all of us? It takes work.
I had a spiritual director liken prayer to lifting weights. The more you do it, the stronger your connection becomes. I think that can be applied to looking and see where God is in our lives, and seeing the invitation God is extending to us. The more we take time to lessen our distractions and look for God, the easier it will be for us to find.
Great! We have gotten to the banquet, but we are underdressed. More work to be done. It is not just answering God’s call for us, but doing the work. I had a student ask me “how do I get better at…Church…and like…learning the stories”. To which I said, “well you can try coming to Church. BUT not just showing up, I mean listening, and singing and hearing what the sermon is and talking to people. That’s a good way.” We cannot just show up and expect that God will happen to us, we must participate in some way. I know people who expect God to be more like a rollercoaster: once you get on, just sit back and throw your hands up. But God is calling us into a relationship and into conversation that will influence our imaginations to see the Kingdom of Heaven, and how we can work to get there.
A priest I worked for named Fr. Roy Shelly, said once in a sermon “Jesus is coming, look busy!”. He was a funny jovial priest that had a great sense of humor about our call to action needing some sort of tension. Maybe the Kingdom of Heaven is more apparent when we are seeking God, rather than waiting for the invitation.