This Sunday, we continue our reading of Matthew's gospel, 22:1-14. Like last week's gospel, there is more killing of servants-this time, when they are sent to gather the guests for the king's banquet. In the end, the doors are thrown wide open to anyone who would like to attend, but one guest comes ill-prepared. "Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?" the king asks. The poor fellow is then bound and cast into the darkness. Had I been there, I would have said, "Relax on the dress code!" or "You could have just asked him to leave." Bizarrely excessive, n'est-ce pas?
The audience is particularly important to situate. Jesus is addressing the chief priests and elders, entrusted an important responsibility regarding the Chosen People, who have transformed authority (which is service of the common good) into power (which is control of the common good). I believe Jesus is addressing the issue of presumption and attitudes of entitlement. The wedding robe symbolizes the appropriate inner attitude in one invited to the celebration of God. What is the appropriate inner attitude? It would seem: awe and humble gratitude. None of us has a right to God, to Jesus. The invitation is gratuitous...
The expulsion of the guest does not suggest that God is prone to bursts of rage. It reveals the Father's vulnerability with respect to the Son, Whom He gives to us. "For God so loved the world that He gave his only son." (John 3:16). When you give what is dearest to you, you are vulnerable. And, if ever someone takes the gift for granted and/or presumes the gift is theirs, you are understandably hurt and angered. The expulsion of the inappropriately dressed fellow reveals that there is no room for anything unloving in the presence of the One who is love.
What is our inner attitude regarding the encounter and celebration of Christ? Do we come to church and seek Him with awe and humble gratitude? We are talking about attitudes not emotions. It is not about feeling awe and gratitude. It is about focusing the eyes of one's heart in faith so as to know that God is awesome. Ask God to reveal Himself to you. Yearn for divine intimacy. Awe and humble gratitude will emerge...
With you in our Lord,
From the desk of the Rector