Monday, February 26, 2007

Contemplation #247
For many are invited, but few are chosen. Matthew 22:14

These words conclude a parable that compares the Kingdom of God to a king giving a wedding feast for his son. This is the third parable in a series of stories that talk about God extending an invitation (Matthew 21:8-22:14), and in each story some choose to refuse it. The chosen are the willing, the willing are made righteous, and the righteous are the people of God. We must continue to oppose the idea that the righteous are chosen because of their goodness, and that the people of God are those who make themselves worthy and are invited because of who they are. In each of the three parables, the ones who eventually are the chosen are not the ones who started out looking like the most likely to be "in".

Contemplation #248
They gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad . . . Matthew 22:10

In our eyes, and in the eyes of God, there are people who are both good and bad. There are none who are perfectly good, nor any who are completely and perfectly bad. The meanest person has some good, and the best person some meanness. Maybe those who are good and bad in our eyes are not exactly the same ones God would identify, which is why we should refrain from judging. What we do see is that God gathers both the good and bad to the wedding feast of the Son. We should not be surprised who we find ourselves sitting beside at the table of God. It is not the feast of God and his Kingdom unless both the good and bad are sitting down together in the grace of God.

Contemplation #249
Friend, he asked, how did you get in here without wedding clothes? Matthew 22:12

The one who despised the occasion and had no answer to explain his insult against the king, was addressed as friend. Such is the disposition of God that even those who show no regard for Him, are to God, friends. Perhaps, we should remember that Jesus addresses Judas as friend when he comes to betray him in the garden (Matt. 26:50). Jesus knew that to be like his Father he would need to see Judas as a friend though he was not acting as one. This parable of the Kingdom teaches us much about God, and the disposition that in us would most emulate Him: invite all, expect both good and bad to come, and call all friends.