Homily – October 15, 2017

I think it is safe to say that we all like a party and we all like to be invited to a party. Birthday parties are the most common of parties, but we have wedding banquets and anniversaries, we celebrate retirements and even party after a funeral. Parties are an important part of our lives and we can get upset with someone who ignores our invitation to join us in a celebration of an important event. The great banquet described in the first reading at which weeping and mourning are banned is all about is a classic example of the fulfillment of God’s saving purpose in history.

All through the Jewish scriptures we read time and again of God’s inviting his people to listen to God’s voice through the call of God’s prophets. In one of the psalms the writer has God saying; Forty years I endured this generation, they are a people whose hearts go astray and they did not listen to my voice, though they had seen all my works so I swore in my anger they shall not enter into my rest. None of the men, women and children, including Moses himself, whom God delivered from Egypt, entered the Promised Land. Though they experienced their deliverance from slavery, though they has seen God’s works of feeding them and giving water to drink, their hearts went astray, they worship false Gods, they would not listen to God’s voice. They did not enter into God’s rest.

Today’s gospel story about the king’s son wedding and the invited guests refusal to attend, even beating and killing those bringing the invitation is just another example of people not just ignoring but outright rejecting God’s invitation into God’s life.

When Matthew wrote his gospel Jerusalem had already been reduced to ruins by the Roman armies sent to put down the Jewish rebellion. He saw this as a punishment for the people, especially the religious leader’s refusal to accept Jesus, though they had seen all his works.

We have seen and at this Mass we renew the great work of Jesus, his teachings, his healings and especially his passion, death and resurrection.

Every day God beckons us, invites us to his banquet, into a deeper relationship with him. It could be by a hint that we could be more patient, more understanding of a spouse, a young adult son or daughter. It could be by a deeper sensitivity toward the way we relate to minority peoples of new immigrants to Canada. God may hint that we spend a bit of time in peace and quiet, step aside from our business. We may be nudged to be more patient driving the car, more patient with the bustle of people in the subway, more patient with the men and women with whom we work. We might be called to pray for the countless refugees of the world, the people whose lives are forever changed by natural disasters of floods or fires. God might gift us with a new insight into his new commandment, ‘love one another as I have loved you.’ But every day, in many different ways we are invited to the banquet of life and love that brings us into a deeper relationship with God – our host. Do we ignore or reject or accept God’s gracious invitation?

In the gospel story the invited offered flimsy and insulting excuses, implying that tending the farm or the business is much more important than the wedding of the king’s son. We are capable of brushing off God’s hints, God’s invitation to deepen our closeness to him. Do we have our flimsy excuses? Are we too busy, do we have too many things to do, more important things to do? Or do we gladly accept God’s invitation to come closer and enjoy the banquet of God’s life and love?