8th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
October 11, 2020
There are places on our common earth where it seems we are not welcome.
Their access roads are blocked by guards and gates.
If you are not a resident in those areas, you are presumed guilty until you prove you are innocent.
Guns may be pointed at you.
Guards ask you for your identification, what your business is in that neighborhood, who you intend to see.
With a call to the homeowners, gate keepers confirm you are an expected guest.
Those who live in these secured areas consider themselves entitled and elite.
In society some people think of themselves as privileged, and believe that others are not.
Some regard themselves as blessed and others, cursed.
Some work hard to be wealthy and cause others to be poor.
Some belong to memberships while others are left to remain outsiders.
The Pharisees, in Jesus' time believed themselves to be the elite of God.
And the people of God regarded them as so.
However, Jesus found them to be lacking and undeserving of God's special favors in many ways.
So Jesus tells us the story we just heard.
In the story, the elite considered the king's invitation to be beneath their dignity.
In Jesus' time, before people RSVP'd for a wedding they'd check out what was being prepared for the feast.
They'd check out the guest list
They'd check out the venue.
They'd check out the food list and who the caterers were
They'd check out who the planner was and how the table arrangements would look like.
If they didn’t like any of the arrangements they simply would reply
"I cannot come."
That would be fine if the story Jesus tells is simply about a wedding feast.
But Jesus is talking about God and God's eternal kingdom. He starts the parable with "The Kingdom of God is like..."
The religious leaders of the people reject God's invitation to recognize Jesus as the one God sends to shepherd us all back to God.
They reject what Jesus teaches and reject his ways.
For them, he is like the non-invited impostor who must not enter the gates to their homes – the doors to their hearts.
Why won't they open the doors of their hearts to the Lord Jesus?
Because Jesus comes not from among the elite. He is not from any of their upper-class families. He mingles among the underprivileged, he walks with the cursed and poor and outsiders.
He mingles with sinners and - according to their thinking - those unworthy of God .
BUT Jesus among the outsiders is like God inviting the good and the bad to the wedding feast.
He contrasts rigid observance of exclusivity with the open-hearted inclusivity expressed by the king: “Invite everyone you find” in the city square.
Now this brings us to ourselves gathered here. The implication is that if we are God’s people, we ought to act like God. The question is, do we?
Do we think of ourselves as elite? Do we think of anyone as unworthy of our friendship and companionship? Are we happy to mingle and be associated with the poor, the rejected and the unseen by our world?
Those who accept Christ and will be very happy to associate themselves with the little ones. Why?
Because they recognize that all good comes from God. Isaiah reminds us:
On this mountain the LORD of hosts
will provide for all peoples
a feast of rich food and choice wines,
juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.
God provides for ALL.
And for all that God gives we ought to be grateful.
We express our gratitude to God when we do as he does.
Go out, therefore, into the main roads
and invite to the feast whomever you find.
God invites us all to his feast.
Why make distinctions among ourselves if, even now, we share a common earth, a common faith,
"One Faith, One Baptism, One God who is over all and is in all..." as St Paul writes the Ephesians
"One Bread, One Body, One Lord of All..." as the same Saint tells the Corinthians.
Around this Eucharistic table we are all one family.
Let that truth be evident in how we live for, welcome, and treat one another.
Are there little ones who are unwelcome among us and in our lives?
Will the votes we cast during the elections help the little ones?