MESSAGE FROM MONS JOHN – 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time / A – 13th October, 2017
Fancy being invited to a special event like having lunch with the queen or a stroll around the Vatican gardens with the Pope for no other reason than you were simply asked if you would like to enjoy their company at no cost to you. They say “there’s no such thing as a free lunch”. That anecdote is true in many respects. At least the invitee is expected to be gracious and reasonably well behaved.
In today’s Gospel story (a parable), a king invites important people to a wedding feast and they decline the invitation. Maybe they knew “there’s no such thing as a free lunch”. So, according to the parable, the king invites people from the street to the feast. Of course they have nothing to lose because they have nothing much to give in return except graciousness and good behaviour.
Yet, one poor guest is thrown out of the feast because he is not wearing a wedding garment. This seems most alarming. What we, on hearing the parable, fail to understand is that in ancient times, at such feasts, the host (in this case a king) would have been obliged to provide all of the invitees with a clean white robe to wear during the celebrations. Clearly, the man who was thrown out lacked graciousness in failing to accept the full generosity of the King.
Suddenly the message of the parable becomes clear to us. We have been invited, not because we are important and not because we will be indebted, by God to partake of his feast in his Kingdom. We are invited to understand that God’s goodness to us all is a gift (a gift of faith) with no strings attached. All we are asked to do is to be gracious – to be thankful. To be less then grateful by only acknowledging God’s goodness when it suits us is a tendency in us all from time to time. Today we are invited to give thanks to God for everything. The invitation is to give thanks for life and all of the joys and challenges it brings – Enjoy the feast!