Gospel Reflections

28th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Matthew 22:1-14

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Marna Rogers

Published: October 15, 2017


"... Many get invited, few make it..."

Being puzzled by a Gospel text happens.  Were I standing in the crowd listening to Jesus this day, I wonder where I would be in his story. Jesus, Julie, Francoise and Mere Ignace knew love and personal regard, but they also experienced exclusion, anger and the potential for violence in their times.

All of us have a memory of weddings, being a guest, being an observer, presiding,  or just happening by and seeing a photo op. This vignette of Jesus includes people indifferent to an invitation, carrying messengers away to violence, responding in surprise at being asked to come, and people excluded for how they look.  And where was the son and his bride in all of this?

I feel the most empathy for the poor fellow who was brought in off the street by surprise, and then berated for not wearing the right clothes; for when he left home that morning, he never expected to end his day at a banquet.

The king called him "friend," then criticized him for how he looked, using that to oust him, and assure no further entrance.

We live in a time, world-wide, when so many are excluded from the "banquet" of safety, safe haven, consistent nourishment, equal rights under the law, meaningful  work, respectful and legal treatment, a homeland, a place to worship, the freedom to wear what is religiously and culturally appropriate, according to deeply held beliefs.

Pope Francis challenged Colombian authorities, Church and civic, to care for all its citizens.  The UN challenged Myanmar's treatment, banishment(ethnic cleansing), of Rohingya men, women and children to Bengladesh, destroying their homelands.  The current US policy on refusal of admission of refugees is being critiqued here and abroad.  American communities of color have focused our attention on the protection and safety of families and neighborhoods in on-going deliberations with police and civic leaders, and the courts.  Particularly poignant is the DACA decision which puts 800,000 young people at risk for deportation; this is a culturally diverse group whose parents brought them here as youngsters.

At this juncture in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus is really being baited by the Pharisees and the Sadduccees.  It's happening in the public square.  How is he to know what people are "taking in" and how they consider what he has said as they walk away to the continuation of their own lives.

In his integrity, Jesus answers their queries honestly and forthrightly, and they observe he treats all with great respect. As our own hearts embrace the issues of our day, do Jesus' efforts to face issues head-on,  out of his own prayer, energize us to assure wider doors for all, and loving response to those most in need, in crisis, in circumstances that would test all of us(hurricanes, war, assault, banishment).

Are we being invited to a place we have not been before, to ask our hearts to open wider than they ever have? Who knows the personal cost of this?

 

 

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