Proper 23 – Year A

Exodus 32:1-14; Psalm 106:1-6, 19-23; (or Isaiah 25:1-9; Psalm 23); Philippians 4:1-9; Matthew 22:1-14

“Everyone, sooner or later, sits down to a banquet of consequences.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

                This parable of the wedding banquet, and the refusal of some to attend, is full of violence in the shape of beatings, murders and punishment by death.  This is a characteristic of Matthew’s Gospel, much more so than in Mark, Luke and John.  Matthew is at times preoccupied with retribution and punishment.  However, let us make one thing clear.  He is not talking about the afterlife.  The wedding banquet, with all of its consequences, for those who accept and for those who do not accept, is now in this life.  The kingdom of heaven is now, has already come near, as Jesus was fond of saying.  Let’s look at the fellow who comes to the wedding reception with no wedding robe, and is therefore kicked out.  How we dress for God’s banquet of life in the here and now does have consequences in this life.  When we put on the wedding robe we are dressed with things such as love, joy, peace, kindness, patience, selflessness, grace, acceptance, blessing, harmony and forgiveness.  However, if we dress like the fellow in the parable we are adorned with hatred, selfishness, narrow mindedness and are petty in our relationships.  In other words, such dress is not proper for the kingdom of Heaven, which Jesus more than once compares to a dinner party of one sort or another.  Sooner or later, we all sit down at the banquet.  How are we dressed?  It is our choice.  And we live with the consequences in this life.

Greek

                In Matthew 22:9 the king tells his slaves (or servants) to go and invite folks from along the main streets, crossroads, or highways (depending on various translations).  In the original Greek it is not totally clear what is meant.  However, the sense of the adjective modifying the word “roads” is that of a passageway that goes through town and extends further out into the countryside.  So, these very same roads are in town and also beyond town, a place where one would not only find residents and also travelers. 

Haiku

Check out my closet.

What now shall I wear this day?

Fine dressed to well dine.