Matthew 22: 1-14
Blowing off the Banquet
I am not sure that this Sunday’s Gospel story of the “Banquet ‘dissed’ by the guests” is the best example Jesus could have used to illustrate the point of the parable, namely, “many are called, but few are chosen.”
At first glance, doesn’t it seem as though the RSVPs were ignored because the host didn’t have a good relationship with any of the invitees? After all, not only did some of the invited guests impolitely disregard the message, but others took their rejection to the next level – mistreating as well as slaying the messengers!
Who could imagine such a disastrous outcome to what was ostensibly intended to be a memorable and special celebration? Who can read this story and not feel some genuine compassion for the host as well as some disdain for the rudeness of the invitees?
Perhaps the emotions that the parable evoke are the real point of the parable. Perhaps Jesus intends that we feel what the host felt and ask ourselves, “what would I feel like if this happened to me? Maybe we are meant to summon the memory of a time when our spirit, filled with joyous anticipation, was crushed under a shocking and unsuspected disappointment. Maybe we are meant to imagine ourselves as one among the many of the invited guests who blew off the summons to join the host at the long-awaited banquet. Maybe we are mean to reflect on what gratitude for an invitation looks like— certainly, gratitude is not like showing up as less than our best!
“Many are called. Few are chosen.”
Perhaps these reflection questions can help us decipher what Jesus intended us to know about the words “Many are called, but few are chosen."
Can you reflect on a recent time when you might have ‘dissed’ a call, an invitation, a challenge from someone who could very well have been a messenger of God?
Who has been a recent recipient of your disregard? How might they have been a ‘messenger’ bearing a promising invitation that was meant for you?
What do you do with your disappointments? Do they evoke generosity of spirit, or do they evoke impoverishing resentment?
As you consider the wonder, call, and possible responses to Gospel discipleship today, what does this parable mean to you?
Before you end your reflection, take another moment and imagine yourself being seated at the banquet to which you have been summoned. Now, enjoy the good company and the celebration held in your honor!
Sr. Arlene Flaherty, OP