August 23, 2018
by Julie Kalkowski
Creighton University's Heider College of Business
click here for photo and information about the writer

Thursday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 422

Ezekiel 36:23-28
Psalms 51:12-13, 14-15, 18-19
Matthew 22:1-14

Praying Ordinary Time

An invitation to make the
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Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

A Renewed Personal Encounter with Jesus

Today’s readings are amazing so if you have time, please go back and sit with them as they are so rich.  Although they offered me a number of directions, it was the King who kept capturing my attention.

In today’s Gospel Jesus offers us an intriguing parable about God in the guise of the King.  Jesus describes the great lengths the King went to, so he could create a memorable celebration for his son’s wedding reception.  He created an invitation list, sent out invitations, and prepared a sumptuous feast.  Then the king sends his servants out not once, but twice to summon the guests to the party. The best of these nonresponsive guests was “busy with work or whatever” so they ignored the servants.The worst of them eventually killed the King’s servants.

This part of the Gospel made stop and think about all the time, energy and work the king did to host a wonderful celebration for his son.  And what was the response?  Blasé at best and murderous at worst. 

Which made me think about my response to God’s invitation to me for a closer relationship. How many times do I ignore God’s invitation to connect?  Am I so busy with work, my children, or my whatever that I cannot hear God calling to me?  Worse to contemplate is my possible indifferent to God’s invitation like some of the King’s guests. God offers us a closer relationship every day and unfortunately, most days I miss it because I don’t take the time to sit with God. 

The second part of the Gospel that struck me was what the King did next.  Again, he sent his servants “out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike…”.  Wow…how unlike us humans who find it so much easier to judge people than to see the potential in them.  The King told his servants all were welcome and to not waste time figuring out who was worthy to come to his feast. The king welcomed all to celebrate his son’s wedding.

This inclusiveness reminded me of Jesus and his ministry.  Jesus invited everyone to learn about God and God’s love for them.  Jesus most often spent time with people of that time who weren’t considered “good”.  But Jesus, like the King, invited all to a closer relationship with God, regardless of what they had done in the past.  To Jesus, no one was beyond redemption.

Today’s Gospel and Jesus’ ministry remind me to not write off people whom whose politics I don’t consider to be ‘good”.  Both the King and Jesus knew that in order to be “good”, you first have to have a relationship with God.  I find it is easier to be open to others who believe differently than me if I make time to sit with God.  I am not saying that it is easy, just that somehow it is easier.  That song:  “All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place” keeps running through my head as I write this.  So, for the next few weeks, I will try to be more inclusive and to look for common ground with  others instead of seeing our differences. To not judge or dismiss anyone, but to welcome them as another child of God. 

And maybe, just maybe, that will help me reach across the aisle…to do my part to heal the divisiveness plaguing our country today.  

I want to end with a paragraph from Fr. Malone that seems especially appropriate for today’s readings: 

“So people of faith must do the same as their King. To let this world’s insanity, break our heart and move our feet to make this place more humane. It is to dedicate ourselves to welcoming the lost, to healing the ravaged, to restoring dignity to the forgotten. We do it not to be big.  We do it not to restore integrity to a wounded church and world, which it will.  We do it not just  because it will save us from ourselves. We do it to be human, which has always been the sacred channel to be close to the King of Love.”

Seeded at God’s Hand:  The Collected Writings
of Patrick Malone, S.J.  (page 131)

Today and for as many days as we can, let us choose to move closer to the King of Love. 

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