XXVIII SUNDAY OF THE YEAR
isaiah 25:6-10a; philippians 4:12-14, 19-20; matthew 22:1-14
a nineteenth-century recipe for rabbit pie begins with the injunction: «first catch the rabbit.» haddon robinson comments: «the writer knew how to put first things first. that’s what we do when we establish priorities; we put the things that should be in first place in their proper order.»
that’s precisely what the guests in this sunday’s gospel parable did not do!
it was jewish custom to prepare food according to the number who accepted an invitation (like today’s rsvp). when the feast was ready, the host would summon the guests to partake of the banquet. in the parable, the king sent his servants twice to summon the guests, but the guests «made light of it» and went about their business. they refused to honour the king’s invitation (which they had accepted earlier).
the jews had accepted GOD’s invitation on mount sinai. but when the LORD came and summoned them to his banquet, they refused to honour the invitation.
it’s important to note the reasons for the guests’ refusal: they «went away, one to his farm, another to his business.» they were busy with something urgent: their livelihood. but the wedding feast represents the messianic kingdom; it symbolises the important: salvation and eternal life.
the guests got their priorities wrong: they left the important for the urgent; they gave up life for livelihood.
GOD invites us to the banquet of life. we accepted the invitation at our baptism.
do i honour the invitation? do i have my priorities in order? or am i so engrossed in gathering the other ingredients for «rabbit pie» and i forget to «catch the rabbit»?
«things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least» (johann wolfgang von goethe).