Some reflections on the upcoming Gospel reading this Sunday
To me this is perhaps one of the most complicated ones in the whole Gospel. There is a parable within a parable. The first parable about the King inviting guests to his Son’s banquet and towards the end, the newly invited guest from the street without the proper attire was thrown out of the gates. The enigmatic line: “Many are called but few are chosen!” compound the overall aura and mysticism of this special parable which demands to be decrypted, dissected and discussed among the faithful in greater details
From the untrained eye of a teenager like my daughter , she said the parable was “retarded” in teenage lingo since why would the King take pain to invite people and then threw them out in the last minute, was not the king supposed to be inclusive? Do we need to respond to grace? These were difficult questions to answer. I could only muster a simple answer that this is a parable and there is more than meets the eye – using a teenager lingo from the movie transformers to give a humble riposte.
A parable aims to teach, to instruct , to share much deeper than doctrines or dogmas. The king is God and his first chosen guests were the Jews. But these Jews rejected Him and even killed his Son Jesus. So He now reaches out to the Gentiles, as depicted by the people in the market square and everywhere else. That is all of us.
Some of us , the gentiles who have been invited, entered the banquet hall but unprepared, similar going for mass , not dressed properly or receiving the sacraments, not in the right disposition, and thus God “throws” us out. Then while reflecting on this, I was propelled and compelled to write this personal reflection. I also checked out some online commentaries on this topic. It seems there were some discussions on the part of God getting a response from us.
So does Grace require a response? Is Love conditional? Is God trying to be exclusive? Again these must be answered from a perspective of faith. From the Gospel it seems on the surface that God is demanding a RSVP from all the guests and this seems to suggest a response but the RSVP I gather is not just a simple physical one but a more emotional RSVP, the kind that requires a 100% commitment and a personal relationship with God.
God is an inclusive God and a loving one. He invites everyone to the banquet. It is our free will and free choice that will accept or reject this invitation. For the invited guest who was not dressed in the banquet attire also RSVP but he was NOT ready. He did not have a personal relationship with God, and thus God “does not know” him. So God “threw” him out of his banquet
Why does the King want to invite so many? Why are so many called and few are chosen? Again based on the above, the King actually called EVERYONE. He did not favour anyone, and he did not chose anyone in particular. The choice has been given to us. We are the few who have chosen to go to the banquet (kingdom) , to go there in the correct attire (baptised, received sacraments), to go there with the right disposition (empowered with the Spirit) and to go there to mingle with the rest of the crowd (to build communion of community) .
Why are few chosen? Actually I felt that there is a relative and contextual word ; the Gospel writer Matthew just wants to highlight that as he is writing this from the Jewish tradition; he wants to highlight the stark fact that the Jews were the original chosen people but few of the Jews actually accepted Jesus as the true Messiah and thus God sent his Son to the rest of the world and to the Gentiles.
I await the Spirit’s guidance for the Gospel proclamation this weekend. In faith, I want to RSVP to God’s banquet and be dressed up in the right attire and be ready to mingle with God’s holy people in the banquet and enjoy the eternal feast with Him. O Pray for us, O Holy mother of God , that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen