October 10, 2008

Maybe next time ...

28th Sunday in the Ordinary Time
Matthew 22:1-14 “My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding

Today, we celebrate the "Fiesta Pilar", in honor of the miraculous image of Our Lady of the Pilar Nuestra Senora del Pilar de Zaragosa. We expect invitations for lunch and dinner today. Yet some of us will turn down these invitations for many reasons; and we have prepared conventional excuses such as: “I’m sorry, I need to finish some work in our office. Maybe next time…” or “I’m sorry I need to attend to some pressing business matters. Maybe next time.” But the funny thing is...we are always curious of what food they served and who came to the party. Then we regret for not coming and console ourselves with the words, “Maybe next time.” But it is already a lost opportunity. Sayang.

Our gospel today is like that. The parable is about a king who invited his guest for the wedding of his son but all of them ignored the invitation. The invited guests in the story were not interested to attend the wedding. They preferred to work in their farms and businesses rather than going to the wedding and enjoy the prepared sumptuous banquet. They were so engrossed with their personal and worldly concern that they become deaf to God’s invitation to celebrate life with him. The invited guests are not bad or immoral people. Like us, they are just too busy with so many things in life that they forgot the Giver of all gifts – God.

We are too busy with so many things of this world that we forget our own spiritual life and God’s invitation to a life in the spirit. William Barclay even said, “The tragedy of life is that it is so often the second bests which shut out the bests, that it is things which are good in themselves which shut out the things that are supreme. A man can be so busy making a living that he fails to make a life; he can be so busy with the administration and organization of life that he forgets life itself.”

There is nothing wrong giving time and effort to our material and worldly concern like earning more money. We need money to pay our electric, telephone, and other bills. There is nothing wrong working hard to get what we want in life like acquiring a beautiful house, good food, vacation, good education for our children, and other concern. They are also God’s blessings. But sometimes, we tend to forget the giver of all these gifts. We forget that God’s invitation to be with Him is far more important than any other things in this world. To be attached to people or to anything is normal and accepted, but it becomes unhealthy when we lost our desire to seek God and His kingdom. They become our inordinate attachments.

The image of the king punishing those who ignored the wedding invitation should not blind us to see the real message - not so much of the punishment but the guests’ lost opportunity to experience the joy of the banquet God prepared for them. The first reading and the gospel illustrate vividly what the guests missed in the feast: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready.” (Matthew 22: 4)… “The Lord of hosts will provide for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.” (Isaiah 25:6).

Then the story continues. The king sent out his servants, not to the houses of wealthy and respectable people, but to the ordinary, neglected, and outcast people. And they happily came to attend the wedding. But when the king entered the hall to greet them, he immediately noticed one who did not dress appropriately to the occasion. The king asked, “My friend how is it that you came here without a wedding garment?” But the man was reduced to silence. He could not use his work and business concerns as valid reasons. And the king cast him into darkness.

What made the king furious was the man’s laziness to wear the proper garment. It was a direct insult to the king and his kingdom. We may think that the king is not kind enough to forgive the poor guy since he cannot afford to a wedding garment. But in the biblical time, wedding garments were available in the anterooms of the reception halls, much in the same way that dinner suits are available in some restaurants in the United States for those who inadvertently come without coat and tie. Therefore, the poor man has no excuse for not dressing up properly. I guess what made the king burst into anger was the poor man’s laziness to dress up! Dressing up properly is one way of giving respect to the king and to the wedding feast.

In our present context, the wedding feast represents the life of holiness and the life in the Spirit God is offering. This life in the Spirit is being offered to everybody without any exception. It is a grace offered to all as a free gift from God. But this grace is not just a free gift to be taken for granted. It is also a responsibility. If God called us to a new life with Him, we must be clothed with holiness and a new way of living according to the precepts of God. The door of the kingdom of God is open to everybody, but it is not open for the sinners to come and remain sinners, but to remove the cloth of sinfulness and wear the cloth of holiness which is the appropriate garment for the feast.

Everyday, God is inviting us to commune with Him in prayer, in community prayer meetings, family meals and in the Eucharist. Yet we find ourselves saying “NO” for many reasons. We failed to see that each of our “Not at the moment, I am busy. Maybe next time” is a lost opportunity to enjoy God’s presence and love. It is not His lost but ours.

I am amused to people who immediately raises his or her hand to an invitation to eat or to go somewhere. We jokingly called them “kaladkarin,” but I am sure they are enjoying life. I wish to be a “kaladkarin” when God is the one inviting.

When God invites us, we should eagerly respond positively. “Maybe next time” is not an option. For we may run out of time and find ourselves uninvited anymore. Sayang.

Fr.Willy M. Samson,S.J.
Zamboanga Catedral
October 12, 2008

1 comment:

  1. "A Simple and Spiritual Life is the only Life that will survive"!

    Such was the testimony of The Hopi people in AZ in their "Declaration of Peace".

    Yet the Hopi peoples of today seem to have given up and given in to "progress", yet i believe there are those Hopi who yet await the coming of the One they call their "True White Brother".

    And i believe the One called The Messiah is "The True White Brother" of the Hopi peoples and that His Life example and Teachings bore witness to The Truth of "A Simple and Spiritual Life is the only Life that will survive"!

    John The Baptist had testified, "He(The Messiah) Whom The Only True GOD(Great Spirit) has sent speaks The Words of GOD: for GOD does not give The Spirit by measure unto Him." (John 3:34)

    The Messiah testified, "I have greater witness than that of John: for The Works which The Father(Great Spirit, GOD,Creator,,) has given me to finish, are the same Works that I do, and they bear witness of Me, that The Father has sent Me." (John 5:36)

    The Messiah also testified, "I have not spoken of Myself; but The Father WHO sent Me, HE gave Me a commandment, what I should say, and how I should speak." (John 12:49)"

    And The Messiah, the spokesman for "Our Father(Great Spirit, GOD, Creator,,)" bore witness to "A Simple and Spiritual Life" and revealed that a man's sufficiency is of Creation, of The Creator!

    "Do not lay up treasures for yourselves upon earth, for that is what moth and rust can corrupt, and where thieves can break through and steal: But lay up treasures for yourselves in Heaven, where neither moth or rust can corrupt, and where thieves can not break through and steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

    The light of the body is the eye: if therefore your eye is single, your whole body shall be full of light. But if your eye is evil, your whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

    No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You can not serve both The Only True GOD and money.

    Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor yet for your body, what you shall put on. Is not The Life more than meat, and the body than clothes?

    Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much better than they?

    Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why do you take thought for clothes? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these flowers. Wherefore, if The Only True GOD so clothes the grass of the field, which to day is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall HE not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

    Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, how shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the worldly seek) For your Heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things. But seek first the Kingdom of GOD, and HIS righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for tomorrow: for tomorrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Every day has evils enough of it's own." (Matthew 6:19-34)

    Simply, sad for all those who believe in "self-sufficiency" ;-(

    Yet, i believe that is just a term that has been used in ignorance by many who in Truth are living The Life that bears witness to Creation sufficiency.

    Now The Only True GOD, Father(Creator) of ALL, HE promised to "fulfill all the needs of HIS Children richly, through HIS Son The Messiah"!

    The Life is sustained by Our Father(Creator), in Creation as we now experience it, through The Spirit.

    Simply, Creation is sufficient!

    Once again, The Messiah testified, "I have not spoken of Myself; but The Father(Great Spirit, GOD, Creator,,) WHO sent Me, HE gave Me a commandment, what I should say, and how I should speak." (John 12:49)"

    "Don't you believe that I am in The Father, and The Father in Me? The Words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself: but The Father WHO dwells in Me, HE does The Works." (John 14:10)

    "He that loves Me not, does not keep My sayings: and The Word which you hear is not Mine, but The Father's, HE WHO sent Me." (John 14:24)"

    I have manifested YOUR Name unto the men WHO YOU gave Me out of the world: YOUR's they were, and YOU gave them to Me; and they have kept YOUR Word." (John 17:6)"

    Then answered The Messiah and said unto them, Truly, Truly, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of Himself, but that which He has seen The Father do: for whatever things The Father does, those things The Son also does." (John 5:19)"

    I can of Mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and My judgment is just; because I seek not Mine own will, but The Will of The Father WHO has sent Me." (John 5:30)

    And The Testimonies bear witness to The Messiah being "a servant" of "The ONLY TRUE GOD". (Isaiah 42:1)

    Hope is, there will be those reading this who no longer deny and defy their Creator(Father), for The Creator, The Only True GOD(Great Spirit) and Father of All, HE knows what is best for HIS Creation.
    So There Is Hope!

    For Miracles do happen!

    Hope is there may be those who experience The Miracle that is "receiving a love of The Truth", for they will "Come Out" from among those who are destroying and perverting Creation(land, air, water, vegetation, creatures, Light, Truth, Life, Love, Peace, Hope, Faith, Miracles, .etc.)

    Those who "Come Out" will desire but "A Simple and Spiritual Life", and they no longer will be of those The Creator is going to "destroy because they are destroying the earth(HIS Creation)." (Revelations 11:18c)

    And they will have Peace, in spite of the dis-ease(no-peace) that is of this wicked world and it's systems of religion, for "The WHOLE world is under the control of the evil one"(1John5:19) indeed and Truth......

    Truth is never ending....... (thedestructionoftheearth.wordpress.com)