If today ….

One of the amazing things about reading scripture is finding the subtle messages and personal lessons that lay hidden in the word. Today’s gospel was not one of those times. There was nothing hidden there, it was all up front and in our face.

This story is not about a wedding feast it is about mankind. And there is no banquet there is the Kingdom of Heaven. Think about it, from the time of Adam to the time of Christ how many times did the Father send out messengers with invitations? At least all of the prophets, and John the Baptist. The gospel says, “ He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come.”

The prophet Jerimiah got to frustrated, at this, that about halfway through his book of the Old Testament he just gave up his pleadings and encouraging words and just basically said that the Israelites we done for. The people of Israel refused to listen. So, his message turned to the time, in the future, that they would come back after captivity and defeat.

So the king, in the gospel, sent other servants for a second time, “Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them.” Does this sound familiar? John the Baptist was, killed, he was beheaded.
In another, slightly different, version of the parable it said that the King, “Finally, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said. But then the tenants saw the son, they said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and take his inheritance.’ So they seized him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him”. And isn’t that was happened to the Son of God?
We all know what happened after that. Big surprise, “the king was enraged and sent his troops,
destroyed those murderers, and burned their city.”

But that isn’t the interesting part of the reading, the next part is very interesting. After he slaughters those that were on the “A” list he went out “into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests.” This is where we come in, not to say that you are not, clearly, the “A” list but just in case you weren’t on the initial guest list there is hope for all of us. With one minor catch, we have to be ready.

I never really understood if everyone else just kept wedding clothes with them, just in case, but obviously this one gentleman left them back at home. And the King called him on it, “‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?’ But he was reduced to silence.”

Perhaps it would have been better if the guy just said something? Perhaps, “they got lost at the cleaners”, or “I just lost a lot of weight and nothing would fit”. Something …. “but he was reduced to silence.” And then he was reduced to being thrown into the darkness”

Like I said, the message is simple, Matthew 25:13, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. ”The Gospel verse was perfect, “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” That is what it all comes down to, that simple line, “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”

After all, who knows, it might be an invitation to a wedding feast.

MT 22:1 – 14

Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and the elders of the people in parables saying,
“The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who gave a wedding feast for his son.
He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast,
but they refused to come.
A second time he sent other servants, saying,
‘Tell those invited: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet,
my calves and fattened cattle are killed,
and everything is ready; come to the feast.”’
Some ignored the invitation and went away,
one to his farm, another to his business.
The rest laid hold of his servants,
mistreated them, and killed them.
The king was enraged and sent his troops,
destroyed those murderers, and burned their city.
Then the king said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready,
but those who were invited were not worthy to come.
Go out, therefore, into the main roads
and invite to the feast whomever you find.’
The servants went out into the streets
and gathered all they found, bad and good alike,
and the hall was filled with guests.
But when the king came in to meet the guests
he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment.
He said to him, ‘My friend, how is it
that you came in here without a wedding garment?’
But he was reduced to silence.
Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet,
and cast him into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’
Many are invited, but few are chosen.”

August 16, 2022

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