Being Serious About Our Spiritual Destiny

User’s Guide to Sunday, Oct. 15

Our heavenly home awaits.
Our heavenly home awaits. (photo: Unsplash)

Sunday, Oct. 15, is the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Mass readings: Isaiah 25:6-10a; Psalm 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6; Philippians 4:12-14, 19-20; Matthew 22:1-14 or 22:1-10.

The past three Sundays have featured shocking parables about our readiness to accept and enter the kingdom of God. It is a decision on which your destiny depends. Jesus is not playing around; he lays out the drama in stark and shocking ways in today’s Gospel.

“The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast …”: Of course, the King is the Father and the wedding feast is that of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. This is a powerful image of the Kingdom: a wedding feast — and for a king’s son, at that! The joy, the celebration, the feasting! Who would not want to come? We may well ask, “If this is heaven, who would not want to go?”

“The text goes on, “… but they refused to come. ... Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them and killed them.” Jesus explains their rejection in a twofold way. The things of the world, though not evil in themselves, preoccupy one group. Weddings are nice, but money is nicer. A second group reject the offer out of wickedness: They abuse and kill those who invite them. For many, the kingdom of God is rejected because it is not convenient to their moral life.

“The king was enraged and sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city,” the parable continues. This destruction happened to ancient Israel in A.D. 70. After 40 years, the “No” of the invited guests (in this case, the ancient Jews) became definitive and led to their ruin and the end of the Temple. It is the same for us. If we are slow to respond, God repeats his offer again and again. In the end, though, if we don’t want to have the Kingdom, we don’t have to have it.

Next, “Then he said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.’” When some reject the invitation, God widens the invitation. He wants his Son’s wedding feast to be full. When rejected, God just keeps calling.

The text explains, “The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike, but there was a man there not dressed in a wedding garment. The king said to him, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?’ ... ‘Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’” Here is a warning, even for those of us who do accept the invitation and enter the Kingdom: We must wear the proper wedding garment — not one of cloth, but of righteousness, to accept the values of the Kingdom.

Understand the urgency with which Jesus speaks and teaches. The Lord is solemnly urging us to be sober and serious about our spiritual destiny and that of those whom we love.