I have always been so perplexed by this Gospel. The reading from the Psalms? Great. Got it. At every wedding. God is Great; God is Good; He’ll take care of me and my heart and soul are filled with Him. But this Gospel! This strange story of a wedding feast! Can you imagine this happening at your wedding? My parents . . . well . . . no. This is not how our wedding feast unrolled.
What is Christ saying here? The regular A-list didn’t care to show, and then some of them shamefully mistreated the servants and then killed them. The host destroyed the murderers and their city. Then the B-list shows up, and one man who is recruited doesn’t wear appropriate garments. Was he homeless? Did he even have wedding clothes? He is thrown out in the darkness, bound up! This sounds like a nightmare host.
But how can this king be a parallel to God the Father? That warm image I have in my head of Him with a soft beard, and twinkling eyes. Kinda like Santa, only less red velour?
Clearly my vision of God is half-jocund, half-missing the fullness of a Just Creator. God has called us all. We get to choose how we respond. First the human race crucifies His Son. Then those living 2000 years later are half-hearted and sluggish attendees. Are we holding back from being wildly enthused about our faith (the wedding party) because the world doesn’t condone our beliefs? Being Catholic is less and less popular (was it ever really popular? maybe in Medieval times?). The jokes about priests being unfit to be around your child. The unpopular stance on birth control and human reproductivity in general. The whole “men in Rome telling you how many kids to have” thing.
As a mother to three little ones, I emphasize choice often. And that choices have consequences. Maybe our velour Santa-esque God the Father is not representative of the God who honors our choices. If we don’t choose Him, if we don’t choose to shoulder, accept, embrace our crosses, if we don’t actualize love to those who need it the most, all of these uncomfortable choices, then we don’t want to be at the party. Our actions speak louder than our words, or in this case, the man’s outfit spoke of what he thought of the place he was attending: not worthy of his best threads.
Today: choose God. Choose love. Tomorrow: attend His party in Heaven. I really really really want to go there. But that depends on what I do here.
Nell O’Leary is an attorney turned stay-at-home mom to three lovelies. She and her husband live in the great city of Saint Paul. You can find out more about her here.