28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 12, 2014
Invitations are a little like snowflakes, no two exactly alike. They come in a variety of ways, shapes, and forms; formal and engraved, casual and funny, handwritten or verbal…texted, via Facebook, or communicated by a third party. They are also a little like snowflakes because they make us “feel” something. While a snowflake causes a sense of “cold,” an invitation might leave us with a feeling of “warmth in our heart” as in: Ahhh! They included me in their celebration….how nice! The opposite effect is also common: Another graduation party! I’m going to have to take out a second mortgage! You get the picture.
The last thing about an invitation…at least a SERIOUS invitation…is that it has the power to make us think, and often, think hard. SERIOUS invitations extended by people who, for whatever reason, are important to us, can’t simply be tossed in the trash and forgotten. We tend to weigh the consequences of how we respond. Even if we have no intention of attending…the invitation hits the mark and hangs there. Whether or not we RSVP, we continue to be aware of the upcoming event. The day of…we sense that it is going on. After it’s over…we wonder how it went. And, if we happen to come face to face with the host we declined or ignored…we make ready our excuse to the inevitable: We missed you last week…it was a wonderful evening…hope nothing was wrong.
As for those events we decide to attend, there is also a response. Invitations motivate us to respond with the purchase of a new dress or shoes, a haircut, by shopping for a gift or a card…and, of course, by carving out the time in a busy schedule. Simply put, invitations demand a commitment, some more costly and time consuming than others. And that is what we take into consideration when we come face to face with an invite!
Jesus knew this!
Even way back then, without the U.S. Postal Service or the internet, people were inviting, being invited, committing to or ducking invitations. Invitations had the same power 2,000 years ago as they do today. And so, Jesus drew upon the whole range of emotions that come with the simple words: You are cordially invited…
But, the Lord was not trying to teach a lesson in etiquette. He was using an ordinary human reaction to a request for commitment and preparation to teach us about something extremely important. Knowing how we tend to react when “invited,” Jesus was trying to drive home how eager God is that each of us ACCEPT, COMMIT, and PREPARE for Eternal life! The thing is…there is no “next time” when it comes to Eternal life! Think about it and think HARD. Really weigh the consequences of your decision. Should you decline, the “regrets” are infinite. There is no second chance…there is no “next time.”
So, maybe the questions of the week should be:
Have you sent in the RSVP?
Now, what do you need to do to get ready?