Monday, October 13, 2014

Homily: 28th OT, House Church, Indianapolis, - We are One Family-All are welcome/Mary Weber ARCWP

Oct.12th Readings, Homily

In today’s readings food, banquets, feasts, spreading tables and extravagant abundance are themes. In the first reading, Isaiah tells us that God will provide the sumptuous banquet. I imagine our very God choosing, preparing and serving a rich and delightful feast. Even in today’s psalm we find food:” You prepare a table before me.” Then in Paul’s letter to the Philippians he says, “I have learned the secret: rather on a full stomach or empty one, in poverty or plenty, I can do all things through the One who gives me strength.” And, finally, in today’s gospel a wedding banquet arranged by a king, a ruler, for a family member’s heir, in some translations his son. This banquet became problematic, no one would come. Because this gospel is so challenging, so contrary to the sense of compassion and kindness that we often find in Jesus, I turned to the exegesis that scripture scholars offer. First, this is yet another parable, second, Jesus was addressing the chief priests and elders, and we know what he thought of them and the burdens that they placed on folks. This passage in Matthew comes immediately after Jesus has used several parables in which he references his rejection by those of the religious elite of the time. The chief priests and Pharisees knew that he was talking about them. They were scheming to have him arrested but they feared the crowds who regarded him as a prophet. So back to the gospel banquet, the king or ruler offered a second invitation to the same people. This time those invited mistreated and even killed the servants who delivered the invitations!! The outraged ruler in turn kills those invited and burns their city. (Some scholars say that this scene is a reference to the destruction of the temple and the city of Jerusalem in 70 AD.) The implication here is that the temple and the city were destroyed because of the incompetence of the Jewish leaders at that time. (Kobak, OFM) Once again, new invitations are issued, this time to anyone who will accept them, good and bad alike. This mixture of diverse and strange people may represent the Jewish Christian community that ended up being marginalized Jews as well as gentiles. Finally, the wedding banquet gets underway. But then the ruler singles out a guest inappropriately dressed! The ruler’s response seems cruel and excessive. He has the guest bound up and thrown out!  Why was the ruler so harsh? What is this really about?  The parable does not tell us.  “Many are called but few are chosen” doesn’t quite help us here. So I dug deeper. Whatever else not being appropriately dressed for the wedding might mean; we sense that just showing up is not enough. Just showing up is too easy. It’s like writing checks for causes but not getting personally involved with those who are marginalized by society, and many churches.. Now, writing checks is a good thing and we are called to be generous with those in need.  This week the Supreme Court chose not to hear the Marriage Equality case for gays and lesbians. That means that Indiana’s law affirming the right to marry stands.  Same sex marriage is legal again. The back lash will begin here in our conservative state. Will we just show up on this issue or find our voices in solidarity with our gay and lesbian sisters and brothers. When in the name of religious freedom, gays will be refused service or jobs because owners and employers do not agree with same sex marriage, what will we do? All are welcome to the Eucharistic Feast as equals and to the sacrament of marriage by Roman Catholic Women Priests. We will and do baptize their children because they belong to us as family. We are one with these families!  The next on the list to be executed by ISIS is a beautiful young man from the Indianapolis area. Peter known now as Abdul Rahman.   He is only 26.   He has spent much his young adult life in service to the suffering in Syria. He spent a year at Butler University. Butler is not just showing up for him and his family. 

The Muslim Student Organization held a vigil on Wednesday night to stand, pray and be in solidarity with this young Hoosier and his parents. Gary and I were able to go and stand with Abdul Rahman’s parents. Many faith traditions were present hearing the Qur’an chanted and praying together as one.

We are called to this feast, to this banquet of Eucharist. We are asked not just to show up but to live gospel equality by working for justice, especially with and for the marginalized. Where in your life have you chosen not to just show up but to get dressed and be counted among the committed living Gospel equality?

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