Church aisle facing the altar

Sunday Soundbite for October 15, 2017

Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle A

October 15, 2017

 

Take pity on a friend of mine—he had two daughters married within six months. Imagine the financial burden as well as the emotional pressures to please everyone. Happily, my friend held up well. I think of him as I read today’s Gospel and the parable of a wedding where the host father doesn’t fare as well. His guests refuse to come, and then kill the servants who bring the invitations. At the feast itself, a guest without a wedding garment gets thrown out bodily—after all that the host had endured, who can blame him?

In borrowing this parable from his sources, Matthew adds the violent details for both guests and host. Matthew’s community, composed of both Jewish and Gentile converts, had to endure hostility from the Jewish synagogue and perhaps the Romans as well. Scripture scholars suggest Matthew wants his community to take God’s invitation to the Kingdom seriously. Those who refuse to come—some of God’s Chosen People—receive a harsh judgment, as do Christians who take the invitation for granted—like the improperly dressed guest. As with all parables, we can’t be too literal: The king in the story isn’t doubling for God in all aspects. We know from the rest of Matthew’s Gospel that Jesus taught us how God gives sinners another chance. But there’s a definite warning here for Christians of any age. We must take the Kingdom, and our participation in it, very seriously.