Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost:
October 11, 2020
First Reading: Exodus 32:1-14
Second Reading: Philippians 4:1-9
Gospel: Matthew 22:1-14
Lord, we pray that your grace may always precede and follow us, that we may continually be given to good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, on God, now and forever. Amen
Salvation and Joy
Jesus has been in Jerusalem; he had entered into the temple and had driven out those who were buying and selling in the temple and reminded them…. this was a place for prayer.
The crowds were yelling Jesus from Nazareth also Hosanna to the Son of David (Matt 21: 9-10) He was teaching and healing in the temple and had upset the Chief Priest and Scribes…what authority do you have? They asked.
He had left for one night and went out into Bethany and the next day went back to the Temple. He had more questions from the Chief Priests and the Pharisees…they heard all about the healing that was going on and they had listened to his Parables. When they realized he was talking about them, they wanted to arrest him but were afraid of the crowds. (Matt 21:45-46)
Jesus had more parables, saying “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son”. (Matt 22: 1-14)
Matthew is a gospel writer that believes that Jesus is God himself, he is the God of Israel. Matthew’s argument is in effect, if Jesus is “God with us” then his presence sanctifies the labors of those who work to serve him, even on the sabbath. Indeed, if Jesus is “God with us,” then his personal presence now takes the place of the Temple where the presence of God was formerly thought to dwell. (pg. 45 Reading Backwards)
Jesus is saying that the Kingdom of Heaven is like a wedding banquet and God is inviting us to come. The wedding banquet was ready…he found out who his true friends were, he discovered that his true friends, were not friends at all.
The King had sent slaves out to invite all his friends…they didn’t come, they all had excuses, he sent more slaves out and told them to invite everyone they see.
Refusal to come to the wedding banquet is refusing God, your refusing to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, even though we all have been invited.
We are all welcome to come to the banquet, the rich, the poor everyone is welcome good and bad. God says you are all welcome at my table.
This is about our salvation, we have been saved by the death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ. We have been given salvation. In our baptism, we have been given the inward spiritual grace in union with Christ in his death and resurrection, birth into God’s family and the Church, forgiveness of sins, and new life in the Holy Spirt.
The King represents God, who asks each and every one of us to come into his kingdom, it does not matter what we did in our life or who we are and he is telling us that the kingdom of heaven is for everyone.
So, you wonder why did the king throw out the one guest that didn’t have a robe on, when he says we are all invited? It’s because he had not given his life to Jesus.
We are told in scriptures that after we except Christ we are given the robe of salvation and we have a choice to except Christ and to go to the heavenly banquet
Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Oh, my friends. if the world could remember these verses how much easier our lives would be.
We have Paul speaking to the Philippians from prison, there is a disagreement between two women if it’s not addressed it could be a disaster.
Separate yourselves from worldly concerns and engage yourselves in God’s work and God will supply you with your every need. We live in such a polarized world, political, social and economics. Everyone needs to turn back to God and “Give thanks in all circumstances”.
“Let your gentleness be known to everyone.”
The message is about both God’s grace and the gratitude of those that God invites to Him. Why did the original guests neglect their invitation? The original guests represented the Jews.
Jesus came to His own people and His own people would not receive Him. Maybe they followed their will and not God’s will. Let’s ask ourselves, where we are in doing God’s will versus our own will?
God ask us to reach out to the last, the least and the lost!
Matthew explains why God turned from the Jews and gave the promise of salvation to the Gentiles.
The early church got the message, the same can happen to us. The kingdom of God is within a reach, the table is ready, the banquet hall must be filled. God is giving us a choice to come to the wedding and join in the heavenly banquet.
“For many are called, but few are chosen.”
My Friends, scriptures tell us to give thanks in all circumstances!
Rejoice in the Lord always! No matter what, be Joyful, be Happy and give Thanks!
The Rev. Lola Culbreath