Be Prepared So You Can Stay

'Lost and Found' by Greg Olsen. Used with Permission.
“Lost and Found” by Greg Olsen. Used with Permission.

Gospel – 8/20/20 – Matthew 22:1-14

Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and the elders of the people in parables saying,
“The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who gave a wedding feast for his son.
He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast,
but they refused to come.
A second time he sent other servants, saying,
‘Tell those invited: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet,
my calves and fattened cattle are killed,
and everything is ready; come to the feast.”’
Some ignored the invitation and went away,
one to his farm, another to his business.
The rest laid hold of his servants,
mistreated them, and killed them.
The king was enraged and sent his troops,
destroyed those murderers, and burned their city.
Then the king said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready,
but those who were invited were not worthy to come.
Go out, therefore, into the main roads
and invite to the feast whomever you find.’
The servants went out into the streets
and gathered all they found, bad and good alike,
and the hall was filled with guests.
But when the king came in to meet the guests
he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment.
He said to him, ‘My friend, how is it
that you came in here without a wedding garment?’
But he was reduced to silence.
Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet,
and cast him into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’
Many are invited, but few are chosen.”

Today, we celebrate the Memorial of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. He was an abbot and doctor of the church. He was known as a reformer who saved the Benedictine order. A very charismatic preacher who lived in the realm of the wealthy and the poor.

He brought people back to the church.

So, the readings are particularly apropos today – especially the Gospel with Jesus once more trying to explain to the people he came to save they will pay for their rejection of him.

What Jesus is relating to the Jews is their history and God’s benevolence each time they break the covenant and find themselves in trouble – in need of God to save them.

They have, through their history bent sent many messengers (prophets) who they have treated very badly because – things were going well and they didn’t think they needed to worry about God.

Today, God, like St Bernard, is bringing back the people (Jews) to Israel from all the lands they have been scattered through out due to the exile by conquering armies.

They are being called to a relationship with God but they aren’t really accepting.

At some point, those guests’ invitations will no longer be good.

Then, we all are invited – good and bad. But there is an expectation we will be prepared when invited in to the celebration.

If not, we won’t get to stay long.

At least that’s what I heard Him say…

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