October 11, 2020
There will be no audio for this homily. It was not delivered.
This weekend I am serving a Maronite Community away from Naples.
Isaiah 25, 6-10 + Psalm 23 + Philippians 4, 12-14 ,19-20 + Matthew 22,1-14
Matthew still have us in the Temple area, and the audience is still the Chief Priests and Elders of the people. In case you did not notice, we have been there now for three weeks. It is not a parable this time. It is an allegory, a story that speaks of one thing but means another. There is a strong message here with this garment issue that just showing up is not enough, and we should not miss the detail that it is the King who makes the judgement about how is dressed right and who is not. Clothing in the scriptures is often a metaphor for good works and faithful discipleship. In the Epistle to the Romans, St Paul speaks about those who have “put on Christ” and have “clothed themselves in Christ.”
When Christ speaks to us today, we are either the invited guests or the servants sent out with the invitation to others. Perhaps we are both. It is not just the evangelists and the prophets of old who announce the invitation, it is a prophetic people, an apostolic church, and a mission of evangelization that is given to us. Being laughed at or ridiculed because we accept the mission might just be expected. We will be in good company as the prophets were mocked and some killed because they fulfilled their mission. Yet, we are reminded again that just showing up is not enough for the King who hosts this banquet. Slipping in for Mass at the last minute and grabbing communion on the way out is not enough. At the feast of the Eucharist, we don’t just show up, not caring much about the guests around us, not being concerned about whether or not we are clothed with compassion and kindness, with no interest in offering ourselves to others.
Despite the warning at the end of these verses today, there is a word of encouragement to us from Jesus Christ. There is room for everyone at the banquet in heaven, and the King wants no one to be left out. Every one of us has been invited to that banquet feast. Excuses are not acceptable. Ignoring the invitation because of ambition, greed, or a self-satisfied life here is risky business. Someone else may take our place. It might be easy to get in to the banquet, but it’s not easy to stay, and today Jesus speaks to us who are already in about the Father, who like the king in these verses will be checking to see how we are clothed.