Daily Reflection

From a Creighton Student's Perspective

August 23, 2012

Michael Bahl

Junior, Theology and Classical & Near Eastern Civilizations Majors

Ezek 36:23-28
Ps 51:12-13, 14-15, 18-19
Matt 22:1-14

“’Friend,’ he asked, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless." – Matthew 22:12

Today’s scripture reading comes to us in the form of one of Jesus’ many short stories with which he taught. In today’s passage, the king hosted a wedding banquet, but none of the guests opted to attend. Enraged, the king massacred those on the guest list who had mistreated his invitation-bearing servants and ordered that people be brought in from wherever they could be found, in order for the banquet to not be wasted. One man enters, but is without a wedding garment. The king, upon noticing his attire, tells his servants to “tie [the shabby dresser] hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

If only this man had taken the time to find more reasonable attire! Not only did he get himself kicked out of the biggest party of his entire life, he had to sit in the dark, tied up, surrounded by others in a similar unfortunate plight. However, there is one thing that separates this man from those already outside: he got inside! This man tasted the great food and aura of the party, even if but for a brief moment. But then, that moment was snatched away, because he was underprepared, sloppy in his attire, a camouflaged pretender hiding among the real wedding guests. This man represents the dangers of the sloppy Christian life. Unlike those who were outside, this man got in. He enjoyed the same food (perhaps bread and wine?) as the other guests, listened to the same music, and was even able to see the king face to face. But, when push came to shove, he was not ready for something as wonderful as the king’s banquet. And, as a result, he found himself bound up, helpless, and locked outside. The man was speechless! He thought he had done everything right, but it turned out that he had been completely wrong.

It is so incredibly easy to be the person without wedding clothes. I catch myself only too often going about my life without any true, healthy thoughts entering my mind. Whenever I go about my faith life robotically or with a misplaced heart, I am doing naught but shutting myself away in the dark. I can feel it when I shut myself off – there is this great weight that appears right in the middle of my chest that effectively walls off my heart and makes me feel completely alone, isolated from myself and from God. The weight is frigid and dead, sucking my focus away and making the world feel dark. Naturally, the world around me seems to only make that weight feel even heavier. But then, something suddenly changes. The weight dissipates, and I am no longer walled off from God. There is warmth, and joy: the wedding clothes are back on, and I am back at the wedding banquet. The wedding clothes aren’t mine, but a gift from the King himself. He invited me, and makes it possible for me to come back in. Jesus’ title for the man tells us everything: “Friend.” Let us pray and be thankful for that friendship that is greater than anything we can possibly even imagine.

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