Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost — October 15, 2017
A Hidden Truth
Jesus loves to inflate aspects of a story to embolden the truths hidden within his parables. He invites us to remove the log from our eye and to consider how easy it is to thread a camel through the eye of a needle!
Today Jesus invites us to compare the kingdom of heaven to a king who desires to provide a wedding banquet for his son. However, time and again the invitation is ignored, as the guests become distracted with work and business. Even the messengers are either ignored or treated harshly. Eventually, the wedding hall is filled with anyone the messengers can find off the street, some present for honorable reasons and some imaginably present for selfish gain—some showing respect to the king with the proper attire and others who seemingly care much less.
Yet in this parable Jesus weaves into the story a profound ques-tion about the ruler. After burning a city that ignores his invitation and abuses his messengers, he casts out one deemed unprepared for the banquet. Although it would be easy to jump to the conclusion that the kingdom of heaven simply has an angry, unforgiving ruler, I would invite us to consider two other possibilities.
First, Jesus loves to inflate an aspect of a parable to embolden a hidden truth. Consistent with logs and camels, with this parable Jesus enlarges a very perplexing question: why would anyone ignore the generous invitation of a ruler who simply seeks your presence at a feast in honor of his son? Second, remember who is telling the story: the Son, who will spread out his arms upon a cross as an expression of the unconditional love he has for all . . . no matter what you wear to the banquet.
David Bennett, president, Northern Province, Eastern District