Lectio Divina: 2020-10-09

Our Lectio Divina for this Friday corresponded to the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A) Matthew 22:1-14

One

Matthew 22 verse 14

Who wouldn’t want to attend a wonderful wedding reception? Well I guess a lot of people didn’t.

The king says “ Invite everyone you find to the wedding “

This is God’s attitude to everyone on earth and he will keep on inviting us.

But as Jesus tells us at the end of the parable, “ Many are called but few are chosen” Many were called and invited to attend the banquet. But more than that was expected of them. They like me have to answer the call by saying a total YES to Jesus.

Jesus wants us to live out our lives and relationships by what we believe in. This morning reflecting on God’s words I ask myself;

Can I be honest with God and myself, how much do I truly believe? Is my faith lived out daily in everything I do and say?

Lord I believe, help my unbelief .

Two

‘Collect together everyone they could find, bad and good alike. It made me think what do we mean by good or bad people ? Why do I think of myself as a good person? I do everything that society expects of me. I can give to charity. I can attend church. [post Covid] But it is only God that really knows what kind of person I am. My only yardstick I can use is my own conscience. Only Our Lord knows if my conscience is clear. Have I tried in the eyes of Jesus to live out his teachings. Only Our Lord will know if I deserve to be invited to the wedding banquet. Keep safe and keep praying.

Three

Again we read another description of the Kingdom of God. An amazing wedding banquet that God invites us all to attend. We are ALL invited but individually we decide how we will respond.

Who am I in this parable? Am I a reluctant guest who has other more pressing things to attend to. Do I really want to go? What will I eat? Who will be there? Or do a I accept with excitement and thankfulness/ gratitude and faith?

What is God asking of us when he invites us to his banquet? Am I prepared to fully commit to all that he is asking of me?

Out of all the ones that were invited from the streets only one man had no wedding garments. He had been invited and referred to as ?friend? but when questioned about why he had no wedding garments he remained silent and was then thrown out into a very unpleasant place. The issue clearly wasn’t about his clothing but how he presented himself at the last moment. How will I present myself at the last moment?

If God asked me the same question what would I say?

Am I prepared to wear the metaphorical ‘wedding garments’? To live a life fully committed to God and embrace all that it entails?

For many are called but few are chosen?

Four

The first thing that came to my mind was Rev 3:20. “I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door. I will come in and eat with him and he with me”. Our Lord loves to fellowship with us and is always requesting us to join Him at the banquet of Realm.

Are we too busy for Him or do we not understand that with Him there is Joy and merriment and peace forever more at this banquet?

That what we busy ourselves looking for is what He is calling us to? Eternal Joy?
I think about myself and how I get my priorities wrong.

I pray that God will open our eyes and give us the wisdom to know that we are better off at the feet of Jesus, at His banquet than in the field/ business.

We thank God but their failure gave us the Gentiles an opportunity to be called too. So all are called, still few are chosen.

I believe that a close relationship with God through His Word will help us to know how to dress for the banquet.

Lord, open the eyes of our hearts to understand more of your Word. In your name we pray.

Five

Like last week it seems that the parable is aimed at the chief priests and elders and so my first thought was that it doesn’t apply to me. However, I would like to think that I am one of those invited but I would also like to think that I would accept the invitation. But I wonder if I am too concerned about my kingdom. I think I need to think about the areas in my life where I have not fully accepted God’s invitation to join the Kingdom of Heaven.

Six

I am invited to God’s banquet.
Wow! How exciting. What a privilege.
I love being invited.
Often there is more pleasure for me in the invitation than in the actual event.
Not so here.
I will be at that banquet.

I am invited and now I need to live in that invitation each day with humility and service.
I have to be that invitation for others …

Blessings to you all

Seven

If I were to give my receiving today a title, it would be: “Beware of Complacency”.

I was first struck by: “They would not come” and felt some of God’s heart-ache there.

Then, I am reminded that, as a gentile, found by the roadside, I am not one of the first called but only receive my invitation because the Jewish people were not interested. As St Paul says: because of their disobedience, I am given mercy. (Not too long now, I reflect also, that the Jews wil again have mercy shown them and will resume their place.)

But what if the guest without the garment turns out to be me? I have gained access to the kingdom feast only by Jesus’ redeeming blood; received the garment of salvation by accepting his amazing merciful love. I will keep the garment by continuing to actively seek and receive his forgiveness (even our “peccadilloes” each have to be accounted for); forgiving others each moment as I have been forgiven and daily living in repentance with joy, praying always: Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth (and in me) as it is in Heaven.

God bless you all on this partly- sunny Friday in (7th!?) month of lockdown!

Eight

Many are invited.

God’s invitation is extended to all of us but not all are ready to accept it. What is it that makes one ready to accept the invitation?

Some of us grew up in the church and always accepted the teachings of the Bible. Some of us may not know anything about Jesus. But for many of us it comes after a long struggle of living in the dark and trying to live by own own will. Trying to fill a longing and an emptiness and filling it with things that don’t give lasting satisfaction. It’s not enough to ‘know about,’ we want the ‘knowing’ that comes from a relationship but it eludes us. Like the Pharisees we are too blind to see and sadly some may never see. Sometimes we have to be humbled by our pain before we reach out to something greater than our small selves, and by some miracle our spirit is awakened and God has found a way into our heart. Oh the joy of feeling God’s love bubble up inside us. That moment of sweetness when the Holy Spirit alights on our heart and we say yes. Let the wedding feast begin.

When nothing else could help
Love lifted me

Nine

One of my precious family photographs, small, black and white, is of the chapel Sunday School hall set out with tables groaning with food – grandma and granddad’s wedding tea in May 1922.

It always reminds me of the (even grander?) heavenly banquet prepared for all mankind, but in the case of that wedding tea I expect that all who were invited did come, health permitting.

In this story, Jesus says that the invitees made excuses and did not come, though they had been “called”; we are probably meant to understand this to be the Jews

So the servants were sent out to gather all those who had previously been excluded – maybe the Gentiles? That would have been a shocking implication to Jesus’ listeners.

But nowadays we might interpret it as – Christians are called, all the rest are not. I’m uncomfortable with that and don’t think it quite matches the meaning. But it reminds us not to rest on our laurels, not to assume that being called is the same as being chosen.

“I’ve been saved/given my life to Jesus ” etc. just doesn’t hack it, at least not for me.

The other troubling part of the story is the man who hasn’t got the right clothes, who is astonished – he thought he was OK, but comes to a dreadful end. Apparently this means that he hasn’t got the right ethical behaviour to justify his invitation.

Am I called – most certainly. Will I be chosen? Tricky – I don’t take anything for granted, but borrow the ideas of St Paul – striving forward, aiming for right ethical behaviour, but recognising that I often fall short. Salva me…

Ten

‘invited’ and ‘wedding garment’

It seems almost ridiculous the wrong conceptions I could had associated since childhood with this Gospel; then I thought it was not fair on the poor man who couldn’t buy a suitable garment. Hence, I never liked it.

Today, thanks God, I think I have seen the message properly and it has a few points for me:

  • I think we are all invited to the participation and the sharing in God’s salvation work. Though not all accept it; some people are simply not interested in knowing anything about God. They are comfy in their lives, enjoying what the world may offer to them.
  • The invitation, God’s loving offer, is extended to all, good or bad alike.
  • God is not selecting a group of favourites; it is rather some people, after receiving the invitation, are willing to change their ways, to turn to God, to convert their lives into productive ones for the Kingdom. And that is the garment needed, a garment of conversion, of love and compassion.

What does mean for me today? I think I have been privileged to have being born in the faith, but it is not a right to be saved, neither something I have to be taking for granted. This means for me that I have to abandon all these things that separate me from Our Lord, by trusting Him and embracing to the full whatever the path His Holy Spirit leads me in. Only then, through His Grace, Help and Mercy, I may enjoy this banquet in heaven that God offers me.

Thank you Lord for another chance.
Blessed be God for ever.