God Invites All People

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for the home Inclusion
By Dr. David M. Thomas for CFM
28th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Matthew 22:1-14

We are being treated to a series of parables about God’s Kingdom during the last few weeks. To say that they are far from clear is an understatement. They are gripping stories (lots of action and sometimes even killing) and oftentimes difficult to understand.

Today we’re told of a king who arranged a wedding feast for his son. Invitations went out and you would think that all those invited would surely come. The food and drink would be abundant, there would be wonderful music and dance, and all the important people would be there. This would be one wedding no one would want to miss. Except that’s not how it went.

It seems that all those invited decided not to attend, sometimes with quite lame excuses. The king sent out a second invitation generating a similar response: no one was interested. It turned out to be a very bad idea to turn down the king’s invitation because the angry king sent out his tough guys and killed all those who decided to ignore the king’s wedding invitation. (They should have gone. They might have had a good time. It would certainly be better than what eventually came down.)

So, the guest list was revised. In fact, it was left wide open because the king then invited anyone his servants found on the street. This tactic insured that the feast would not be filled by society’s best, but by vagabonds, stragglers, ner-do-wells, drifters and all sorts of questionable types. You can bet that they were going to have a good time!

Parables are to be taken seriously, but not literally. That’s because they are often multi-layered and symbolic of complicated matters. So, what are we to take from this one? Here’s my thought.

God is generous in a crazy sort of way. God invites and chooses everyone (we know that from other parts of the gospels) and God will choose people we might not. Think of the way most people carefully put together guest lists for weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and the like. Great care is taken to limit guests to those you decide should come. No others. By nature, it seems we are narrow in our choice of guests. God isn’t! That’s the message here.

©David M. Thomas, PhD

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