When I turned 16, my friends threw me a surprise birthday party.
I would never have planned anything myself because truthfully, I assumed it would burden others and I was the only one who really cared to celebrate. So, when I walked through the doors and was welcomed by the scream-singing of “Happy Birthday” by my dearest friends, I buried my face in my hands and felt the warmth of tears welling up. It seems silly, but I looked around at the decorations and the cupcakes, and I could not believe this was planned for me.
The party was for me, yet I still could not believe I was invited, or that I was so cared for by my friends.
I am reminded of this feeling when I read today’s Gospel, Matthew 22:1-14. I so often forget the space the Father is holding for you and me, this invitation to join Him at the heavenly banquet for all of time.
I am cared for by the King of Kings, bewildered that He has planned this feast with the desire that I would join Him. I wonder about what it would be like to open the door and meet Him face-to-face. I can only imagine the song of celebration I would hear when I meet His gaze, realizing He has prepared for my arrival longer than I could have known. I would be reminded of how thoughtful of a friend He has been to me, in awe that I was invited to a Kingdom I felt I had no part in. There would be a warmth in the intimacy of His company, as I experience being perfectly loved and understood.
Sister, that is the kind of friendship we are invited into forever. By today’s Gospel, we are given a glimpse into all that He is preparing for us, and I pray we will arrive in our best wedding garment. I pray we would spend a lifetime conscious of His sweet invitation, and that we we would arrive with eyes wide open and hearts surrendered.