Tag Archives: 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

You’re Welcome

You’re invited,
do come.
It will be a great feast,
with much rejoicing,
delicious food,
great entertainment,
the best you can imagine.

Do come.

Actually,
I’m busy,
so much to do.

I’m not sure it is my thing.

I’d rather be doing something else.

It might be too much effort,
all that dressing up,
getting there,
so much fuss.

Excuses,
excuses…

So you don’t want to come?

There are plenty who will,
people that you might not look twice at,
the disreputable,
the difficult,
the unsavoury
– in your eyes anyway;
to me
they are loved
and valued
and welcome

Matthew 22:1-14 (CEV)

The Great Banquet

22 Once again Jesus used stories to teach the people:

The kingdom of heaven is like what happened when a king gave a wedding banquet for his son. The king sent some servants to tell the invited guests to come to the banquet, but the guests refused. He sent other servants to say to the guests, “The banquet is ready! My cattle and prize calves have all been prepared. Everything is ready. Come to the banquet!”

But the guests did not pay any attention. Some of them left for their farms, and some went to their places of business. Others grabbed the servants, then beat them up and killed them.

This made the king so furious that he sent an army to kill those murderers and burn down their city. Then he said to the servants, “It is time for the wedding banquet, and the invited guests don’t deserve to come. Go out to the street corners and tell everyone you meet to come to the banquet.” 10 They went out on the streets and brought in everyone they could find, good and bad alike. And the banquet room was filled with guests.

11 When the king went in to meet the guests, he found that one of them wasn’t wearing the right kind of clothes for the wedding. 12 The king asked, “Friend, why didn’t you wear proper clothes for the wedding?” But the guest had no excuse. 13 So the king gave orders for that person to be tied hand and foot and to be thrown outside into the dark. That’s where people will cry and grit their teeth in pain.14 Many are invited, but only a few are chosen.

Be Gentle

We all need some encouragement in life.  Someone cheer leading from the sidelines, giving us confidence, showing their belief in us; words and actions that give us the impetus to keep on going.

Paul wants to do that to his friends and fellow Christians.  To encourage them in their life and faith.  He is bursting with pride for them, but he wants to encourage them to keep on living God’s ways.

Philippians 4:1-9 (CEV)

Dear friends, I love you and long to see you. Please keep on being faithful to the Lord. You are my pride and joy.

Paul Encourages the Lord’s Followers

Euodia and Syntyche, you belong to the Lord, so I beg you to stop arguing with each other. And, my true partner, I ask you to help them. These women have worked together with me and with Clement and with the others in spreading the good news. Their names are now written in the book of life.

Always be glad because of the Lord! I will say it again: Be glad. Always be gentle with others. The Lord will soon be here. Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God. Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel.

Finally, my friends, keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don’t ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise.You know the teachings I gave you, and you know what you heard me say and saw me do. So follow my example. And God, who gives peace, will be with you.

Paul is not afraid to give some direct pointers to a couple of named people.  Euodia and Syntyche are arguing.  We all know how that can drag a community down, when two people just can’t get on.  They worked together with Paul, but cannot work together without him.  But this isn’t just seen as their problem, it is a community problem, and is to be solved  by the whole community together, with everyone’s support and encouragement.

Then Paul turns to the advice I love, that we so often forget,

Be gentle with one another.

So often we have such high expectations, unrealistic standards, that we forget to be gentle.  We forget other people have real lives and circumstances they are dealing with.  We forget we are not perfect, yet we expect it of others; or we have such ridiculously high expectations of ourselves, that we transfer that to others – forgetting that we never reach those height; or we are so cross that we don’t meet our own high standards that we end up taking it out on others.

So perhaps the “Be gentle” advice needs to be applied to ourselves first?

Yes there are expectation of the christian life, standards and goals, but we are not God.  They are aims to be encouraged towards, but with the reality that we are all human.  We should be encouraging not discouraging one another.  Cheering each other on, not jeering at every slip up.

Be gentle with everyone, you never know what is happening in their life, what burdens they are carrying, what news they have just been told, what happened before they walked out of their door, what will happen when they walk back in it, what they are fearing, hoping, dreaming or dreading…

That is how we know and spread God’s peace.

Forgive me Lord,
the things I get wrong,
the times I discourage others,
do things that drag my community down,
project my ridiculous expectations on to others
and fail to be gentle,
to myself
and to others.

May I tread
with your feet,
exercise care,
love
and understanding,
even when I do not know.
May I be gentle,
as you are so gentle
with me.