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R.S.V.P. Re’pondez s’il vous plait. This seems like such a simple request, and yet, so often it is ignored. Certainly this indicates a lack of social grace. The people in our Gospel parable today, however, were guilty of more than just a lack of social graces when they ignored the invitation to the wedding feast. We are told they not only “refused to come to the feast,” but in some cases “laid hold of and mistreated the King’s servants and even killed them.” What kind of people would do this? Well, I suspect they differ from us in only in degree. They were people who had become so self-absorbed that they couldn’t recognize the gift/invitation that was being offered to them.
While the angry response of the King seems exaggerated, it is tempered by his largess and generosity in sending his servants to invite to the feast whomever they could find. This reminds us that no one is beyond the reach and embrace of our God’s love. But what about the person who was ejected because he didn’t wear a wedding garment. Well, since guests frequently came from a distance over dirty and dusty roads, the host often provided an opportunity for them to clean up, as well as a fresh garment for them to wear. The guest’s refusal to comply with this custom went beyond rudeness and would have been insulting to the host. The message in this is clear. It is not enough just to show up. Something more is required.
Our first reading this weekend from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, speaks of the lavish banquet that God has prepared for his people. But, as in the Gospel reading, it is necessary that people respond to God’s invitation to this banquet.
In our second reading this weekend from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Philippians, Paul reminds us that in every situation and circumstance he “can do all things in him who strengthens me.”
Questions for Reflection:
1. Looking back can you see where you have failed to respond to or even rejected an invitation from God?
2. Have there been times when you’ve just shown up in response to God’s invitation, without doing anything else?
3. In our second reading Paul talked about living in widely divergent circumstances. He then said: “I can do all things in him who strengthens me.” Can you think of a time when you were strengthened to do something that initially you didn’t think you could do?