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  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

899: God has always had a very hard time giving away God: No one wants or seems to want this gift.

Day 899: Thursday, September 1, 2022

God has always had a very hard time giving away God: No one wants or seems to want this gift. We’d rather have religion, and laws, and commandments, and obligations, and duties.

Heaven Is a Great Party!

I’m sure many of us attend church out of duty, but gathering with the Body of Christ is supposed to be a wedding feast. Do you know how many times in the four Gospels eternal life is described as a banquet, a feast, a party, a wedding, the marriage feast of the Lamb? There are fifteen different, direct allusions to eternal life being a great, big party.

Do you know how many parables there are about eternal life being a courtroom or a judgment scene? One. Matthew 25.

And that’s good. We need Matthew 25 because it makes it very clear that the ultimate issue is about how we care for the poor and marginalized.

But we forget this good news of Jesus, sending a message out to the highways and the byways, inviting everybody who’s willing to come to the banquet. It’s that simple!

Jesus goes out of his way to mention the good and the bad alike. We don’t like that either. We only want the good people to be there at the banquet, assuming, of course, that we’re the good people.

Did you ever see the irony of that? Don’t you realize that every religion thinks that they are the ones that God likes? And we end up gathering at the party with that smug certitude; but when we do, it resembles something that very often isn’t much like a party. I don’t want to offend anybody, but sometimes only half of us even sing when we’re at church; half of us don’t even pick up the hymnals. I’m not trying to be cruel, but let’s just be honest and admit that many of us aren’t excited to be at church. For many of us, the Body of Christ is not a party.

Instead, we often believe that heaven is a giant courtroom scene. The good people win, the bad people lose, and almost everybody is bad except our group. That won’t work! It gives no joy and no hope to the world. It tells people they’re on the right side when sometimes they’re very unloving people who don’t care about the poor or the marginalized at all. And the statistics prove that Christians are no better than anybody else, in fact, very often—I’m sorry to say it—we’re worse.

Do we want to be a part of the wedding feast to which all are invited? The only people who don’t get in on the party are those who don’t want to come—so I guess we have to ask ourselves, “Do we want to come?”

Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.

4 “Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’

5 “But they paid no attention and went off. 8 “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not come. 9 So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ 10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.

In this homily, Father Richard considers the parable of the wedding feast and points out how few of us seem even to desire to attend God’s banquet.

Click here to read the Gospel passage

(Matthew 22:1–10).

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