As I mentioned earlier this week, this is our week of Orientation for the incoming first year law students. One of the things we do during Orientation is give the students a sampling of some of the spiritual growth and worship opportunities that are available during the school year. Monday the St. Thomas More Society led a Lectio divina, Tuesday we had a Bible study session, Wednesday, Weekly Manna, and today I gave a Mid-Day Reflection.
I picked Micah 6:8 as the basis for today’s gathering: “You have been told, O mortal, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: To act justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”
It seemed to me a perfect passage with which to begin the year. In the context of this new environment, I thought it would be worthwhile to encourage the students to spend some time reflecting on how they will actualize what God asks of them; to think about what it means for them as law students (and future lawyers) to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly.
I began my reflection with a little background to the passage, and then spoke a little about each element of “what the Lord requires.” We then took time for some individual silent reflection, and ended with some sharing by the participants.
You can access a recording of the talk I gave here or stream it from the icon below. The podcast runs for 20:53. You can find the handout I distributed for individual reflection here.
Today’s Gospel from St. Matthew is Jesus’ parable of a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. This is part of a series of parables Jesus directs to the chief priests and elders who approach him to ask by what authority Jesus is acting.
Jesus here tells the story of the man who gives a great dinner to which many are invited. We are intended to envision here, I once heard a preacher say, the party of the century. Not, he suggested, a “I have a season of The Office on DVD and a bag of Doritos, so come on over,” but a lavish wedding feast. One by one, they make excuses. Their excuses weren’t bad as excuses go – the need to deal with business, a recent marriage.
We are all, at least on occasion, like the guests. We say we are going to respond to God’s invitation, but we get distracted, they put other things first. Other things become priorities, rather than God. It is not that the things are evil in themselves (they might be good things), but they become so important that they threaten our commitment to discipleship.
There is a tension, one faced not only by the religious leaders who were the direct target of Jesus’ story, but by all of us. We are meant to enjoy the gifts God has given us, but we don’t want to let those gifts become so important that they become god to us. We are meant to enjoy the gifts we have been given, but not to make them more important than God.
The invitation to life with God is extended to everyone, but not all will accept it.