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Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

My dear encountered couples:

If you were invited to dinner at Buckingham Palace, would you go? If the Queen of England invited you to attend her son’s wedding and to dine with her afterwards at the wedding banquet, would you turn her down? If your airfare to London and your hotel accommodations were all paid for, if you were given money to buy a beautiful dress or a white tie and tails outfit would you go to the trouble of packing a bag and heading for England? Or would you send your regrets?

“You should live so long,” you’re probably thinking. You’d most likely stand a much better chance of winning the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes than being invited to the wedding festivities of any prince or princess. Is that what you think?

Well, you’re probably right! It’s doubtful that your name will ever find its way onto the queen’s list. But you are also wrong! You have already been invited to a wedding and banquet – but not by the Queen of England. You have been invited by God to the wedding banquet of Jesus Christ, the prince who has already become the King of Kings. God the Father has invited you to join him at the eternal festivities in honor of his Son. The ticket has been paid for; your clothing is supplied. All you have to do is say “Yes.” No, I’m sorry, there’s a bit more to it than just saying “yes”; you also have to mean it. That’s the hard part.

Many people say “Yes” to God’s invitation to join him and his Son in heaven. But not everyone necessarily means it. To say “yes” to something involves the doing of something. To say “yes” to God’s invitation to heaven involves preparing yourself so that you will fit in. Just as you would probably read up on some of the history of the royal family of England before heading for London (at least you’d learn their names), just as you would probably familiarize yourself with the customs, the protocol, and how you are expected to conduct yourself, so it is for those who plan to join Christ and his Father at the banquet in heaven.

You would want to be prepared for whatever it will be like so that you would feel relaxed and at ease, so you would feel at home. You sure wouldn’t want to stick out like a sore thumb and feel embarrassed, like you didn’t belong there. Or would you?

It’s hard to believe that those people in the parable wouldn’t take time out to prepare themselves and go to the wedding banquet of the king’s son. Maybe they had a lot of things to do that required their attention and they didn’t have time to go to all the parties they were invited to - but not go to the party at the palace? Hard to believe anyone would turn it down, isn’t it?

Some of them not only ignored the invitation but even beat up and killed those who brought them the invitation. Can you imagine doing that to your mailman who brings you your invite to Buckingham Palace?

Those guys must have been out of their minds. Does Jesus really expect us to believe that anyone would seriously act that way to such a prestigious invitation? Whether we believe it or not, it happens every day.

Every day people turn down God’s invitation to his Son’s banquet. They ignore him, they ridicule those who tell them about God and his invitation, they have even been known to kill those who offered them the hospitality and love of God. They slap the cheeks of those who turn to them their other one. Do you know anybody who does that? I think that most of us do know someone who might fit into that group, at least on occasions. And we know what that someone even looks like. In fact, we are very familiar with the face. We see it in the mirror every morning.

Yeah, you’ve guessed it. You’ve guessed whom I’m talking about. I’m talking about us. About you, about me. We, at times in our lives, quite possibly at times every day of our lives, do things that amount to the ignoring of God’s invitation, maybe to the outright rejection of his invitation. I sure hope we don’t do anything that amounts to the killing of his messengers. That’s the sin against the Holy Spirit, you know - cutting off the source of the messages of God from our lives, from your life.

God sends you messages and invitations all the time. Not just one, but many - all day long. He does it in just about any way that you can imagine. Through the people in your life, through the things that happen in your life - when you are at prayer, at work, at play. When you are busy, when you don’t have anything to do, God is trying to get you to notice him and his invitation; he is trying to get you to accept it.

But you have accepted it already, haven’t you? We all have. We all have said “Yes” to God. Many times! The question we need to ask ourselves often, though, is: “Do we mean it?” Are we living our “yes?” Are we doing our best to become people who are prepared to join God and his Son at the banquet of all banquets? At the wedding banquet in heaven?

Wait a minute! If this is a wedding banquet, whose wedding is it? It is the wedding of God’s Son, of course. But who is he marrying? With whom is God’s Son becoming joined? The invitation didn’t say, did it?

Here you have been invited to the wedding banquet of the Son of God and you don’t even know who he’s marrying. Take a guess. Who do you think? Figure it out? Got it yet? Give up? Okay, I’ll tell you. Who is the person Jesus Christ is entering into an eternal union of love with? IT’S YOU! I hope you don’t stand him up!

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