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.