28th Sunday, Year A

Taken on face value, Jesus’ parable seems a little unrealistic, after all who in
their right mind would turn down an invitation to a royal wedding?

But in truth we all of us do this all the time.

We may not be invited to the wedding feast of the King’s son, but we all of us
have things we know we should do but which we give ourselves excuses for
not doing:

- That letter or message I know I should send, that phone-call to a sick or
lonely friend I know I should make , but never seem to have the time for.


- I really ought to make time to pray, but there’s something on television I
want to watch just now.


- I was going to go to mass today, but then something happened and I just
didn’t make it. Again …


- I know I should be kinder or more charitable towards my neighbour, or
someone at work, or a fellow worshipper at church, but I just can’t
summon up the will.


- I know I drink too much, but I’m under a lot or pressure at the moment.
And anyway, one more glass of wine won’t hurt …

The list is endless, and so are the excuses we make.

The excuses made by those invited to the wedding banquet in the gospel
weren’t bad ones: one man went off to work on his farm, another to attend to
his business.

But the clue here is in why they went off to do these things rather than attend
the feast they’d been invited to.

When the invites first go out Matthew tells us ‘they were not interested.’

Indifference is the greatest threat to our faith.

We may not abandon our faith altogether and turn to evil, but we might well
refuse God’s invitation to do some good thing for a neighbour, even if it is just
making that phone-call or writing that letter.

I have been trying for more than 14 years to get the people of this parish to
come to church, and I can tell you that indifference is the biggest obstacle to
people turning to Christ.

And it’s the same in any parish in the country.

It’s not that people are opposed to Christ or his church, it’s not even that they
don’t believe.

It’s that they’re just not that bothered one way or the other.

There’s always something else they’ve got to do on a Sunday morning.

So they refuse the King’s invitation to his only Son’s wedding banquet.

After all, you don’t have to go to church to get into heaven do you?

Well, maybe, maybe not.

Personally, I wouldn’t like to take the chance …!

The thing is, we don’t even have to earn our invitation to God’s great feast, we
are invited.

This invitation challenges us to accept that we need God in our lives.

No man is an island.

We need the rest of our community but most of all we need God.

Which means we have to try and co-operate with him, listen for his call and
respond when it comes, instead of making excuses and going on doing our own
thing.

God invites us to accept help from others - and to offer the same.

To share with others what He has given us, and in that way begin to share in
the life of His kingdom here on earth.

Because God’s kingdom doesn’t just mean heaven.

His kingdom is here and now, right in our midst today, it is all around us, only
we are too busy or preoccupied, too self-obsessed or simple not interested,
and so we miss it.

We find God’s kingdom when we live as he wants us to, when we share in His
life, when we listen to His Son and play our full part in the life of His church,
and when we encourage others to come and share in it too.

God is inviting you to share in the banquet which is the life He offers to all who
believe.

He is calling you to a deeper and more authentic life, into a more intimate
relationship with Him, to play a fuller part in the community of faith we call His
church.

One question people tend to ask about today’s gospel is about what is meant
by the wedding garment which the man was thrown out of the banquet for not
wearing.

The wedding garment is not a long white dress or a new suit.

It is the state of righteousness which those in God’s kingdom possess.


This garment is being woven daily, knitted together one stitch at a time by our
words and actions, by the way we interact with others,.

It can also be unravelled by our complacency, our indifference to God or our
outright rejection of him as we go through life.

It is clear from Jesus’ parable and how the King instructs his servants to invite
everyone, ‘good and bad alike’ into the wedding feast that God wants all to be
saved, perhaps he wants that even more than we do ourselves since we so
often reject his invitation.

But we will not be able to sneak into this feast through a side-door, or without
being appropriately attired in the afore-mentioned wedding garment.

To do that would risk being cast out like the man in the Gospel.

The invitation comes free.

We respond by the way we live and associate with one another.

And we do well to bear in mind that our invitation to this royal feast comes at
the King’ decree; it is an invitation we would do well not to refuse.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.