October 12, 2014 - 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted Oct 8, 2014, 10:03 PM by Domain Admin   [ updated May 7, 2016, 10:31 PM ]

Gospel of Matthew 22: 1-14

Kristenne's Reflection

"Hey there's a potluck on Monday! Are you coming?" A phrase often asked by many Emmaus leaders at St. Anne (now and back when I was part of it.)

It is a simple invitation to come and share a meal, but anyone who has ever been to a St. Anne potluck will know that it's much more than that. Before you even make it through the doors you can hear all the commotion. Walking in is quite a sight. People laughing, sharing stories with friends, praying, dancing, singing, celebrating, and of course eating. It is our living faith community. We say to come and fill yourself with food, but we also get to share a space filled with the Holy Spirit; young people living out the gospel by the little things they do. Welcoming others they don't know, serving food to everyone equally, even just sharing a hello. It nourishes us in ways we might not have known and we learn more about this faith journey we are on: through a plate of food and a "big winner." :)

In this Sunday's readings, food is common theme. But this feast Jesus speaks of is a metaphor for the kingdom of God. There can be no comment of "TFTI" because we are always invited to come. It is up to us to answer the call. He will try multiple times, but we have to be open and paying attention. (A little bit of prayer for guidance doesn't hurt either.)

I often wonder if I am answering my invitation to serve because I've struggled with the question of whether or not I can even serve at all. And every day I learn, we as a faith community have so much to give with what has been given to us.

This past week, one of my favorite places to volunteer had it's grand opening of their new dining hall. The folks that come through St. Anthony's come hungry. Literally hungry. You may see their guests on the streets of San Francisco not knowing where the next meal is coming from. They may be the ones who live day to day barely making it by. They come in for a tray of food, but you see it in some of their faces that food is not the only thing that fills them here. I was once thanked by one of the guests and he told me, "This is my favorite place to come eat because there is a different atmosphere. It's caring and the people are nice. Not like the other places."

Every day, rain or shine, weekday, weekend, holiday, St. Anthony's serves these people. And while they intend to fill their empty stomachs, they also fill their hearts, minds and souls with the Holy Spirit. Sharing their gifts and talents with others. And it is truly blessing to take part in it even if the gift I have is carrying a tray of food to a person in need.

This gospel reminds us that God is always reaching out to us and giving us opportunities to take part in the beauty of life around us. We just have to want it enough to go for it.

So I ask, are you hungry? And what are you hungry for?

Ali's Reflection

“The kingdom of heaven … (is where) many are called but few are chosen.” These are the first few words and the last words of the Gospel reading this week, and I think these book ends essentially tell the whole story. I see the parable of the wedding banquet simply as a message of God’s invitation to serve.

To me, the wedding banquet can be seen as God inviting those who are worthy to be in His kingdom of heaven. The king in this story invited people as a test to see if they were worthy enough and accepted in, by seeing the way they responded. The king went all out of his way to show how much he wanted his invitees to attend this wedding banquet, just like God wants for all of us to be a part of His kingdom. But when those invited responded in a way that was disrespectful and not to the king’s liking, the response back, was unfavorable—they were highly unlikely to be called back for an invitation, and instead were given the consequences of punishment, banishment, shunning and even death.
 
The parable also seems to send a strong message of rejecting the “unworthy”, and probably moreso, rejecting the ways they responded to the invitation. The responses they had were that they ignored the king, they did not take the invitation seriously, or had reasons to do other things, which could indicate a lack faith and loyalty. One person went so far as to make it to the wedding banquet but was also rejected because he was not readily prepared to be there.

The second batch of people seemed to be who the king most intended to invite into his banquet, and they were probably the most unlikely of individuals to be invited to the wedding banquet, likely castaways, who were not originally thought of to be part of the huge celebration, and just found randomly in the streets. And yet, they humbly accept the invitation with open arms.

How, then, do we respond to the invitations in our lives? At a time when the faith formation programs are fresh into a new year, I am reminded of how I was first introduced to being involved in the Youth Ministry program at St. Anne. And it started with a simple, yet meaningful gesture—an invitation. After being confirmed, I was sought out by one of the leaders of the Youth Ministry to see if I’d be willing to come to the regular Monday night meetings just to be an extra helping hand. As a young teen in the church community, I didn’t have too many close friends there, and sometimes felt a bit out of place because I didn’t know too many people. Having had my own doubts and questions about my faith at the time, I wondered whether I was even worthy of the opportunity or if I even had anything to offer to help. On the other hand, I also realized--“Wow, someone thought to ask me of all people? To help out with something that seems so big?” I felt accepted and thought of, and being asked to help truly humbled me. In a sense, I was hungry to be involved and I accepted the invitation. Being invited to serve in this way was just the right food I needed to fill a need for meaning and acceptance in my life. It turned out that many Youth Ministry and Confirmation potlucks later, I was very much fed well, both literally and figuratively, and till now, I humbly recall my affirmative response to this calling.
 
How do you respond to God’s invitation to serve?  On the same token, how do you go about inviting others, even the least likeliest of people, to be a part of something amazing and grand? In what ways can your response to an invitation impact how you go on to live your life? God is beckoning us to answer his call in tons of ways in our lives. I believe that the outcome of your response relies largely on your unrelenting faith in Him.   

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