Friday, October 10, 2014

Invitation

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
October 12, 2014

Matthew 22:1-14

Jesus knew very well how much the peasants of Galilee enjoyed the weddings that were celebrated in the villages. Undoubtedly he himself had taken part in more than one. What experience could have been more joyful for those people than being invited to a wedding and being able to sit down with their neighbors to share a wedding banquet together?

This vivid childhood memory helped him at one point to communicate his experience of God in a new and surprising way. According to Jesus, God is preparing a final banquet for all His children since He wants to see all of them seated next to Him, enjoying a fully blissful life forever.

We could say that Jesus saw his whole life as one big invitation to a final feast in the name of God. So Jesus doesn't impose anything by force, he doesn't pressure anybody. He proclaims the Good News of God, arouses trust in the Father, fires up hope in their hearts. His invitation must reach everyone.

What has happened to this invitation from God? Who is announcing it? Who is hearing it? Where is this final feast spoken of in the Church? Satisfied with our well-being, deaf to everything but our immediate interests, it seems we no longer need God. Are we gradually becoming used to living without the need to nourish ultimate hope?

Jesus was a realist. He knew God's invitation could be rejected. The parable of the "wedding guests" talks about the different reactions of the guests. Some reject the invitation consciously and roundly: "They didn't want to go." Other responded with absolute indifference: "They ignored it." Their lands and their businesses mattered more to them.

But, according to the parable, God doesn't become discouraged. Above all, there will be a final feast. God's wish is that the banquet room be filled with guests. So one must go to the "crossroads" where so many wanderers without hope or a future, are walking. The Church must go on announcing with faith and joy God's invitation proclaimed in the Gospel of Jesus.

Pope Francis is concerned about preaching that becomes obsessed with "the disjointed transmission of a multitude of doctrines to be insistently imposed." (EG 35) The greatest danger according to him is that it will no longer be "the Gospel which is being preached, but certain doctrinal or moral points based on specific ideological options. The message will run the risk of losing its freshness and will cease to have 'the fragrance of the Gospel'." (EG 39)

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