Every Mass we celebrate we are guests at a wedding feast, invited by our Lord. Our Gospel tells us to accept this invitation with humility. Humility is the opposite of pride. When we allow pride to take over in our lives, we are dishonest. We lie about ourselves by flattering ourselves, making ourselves seem better or smarter or more deserving than we really are. When we approach others with humility, we are being honest. We are grounded in reality. (Humility comes from the Latin humus, which means ground.) We acknowledge that we are sinful, that we are imperfect, that we fall far from the ideal! Certainly, it is better to avoid the embarrassment of being taken down a rung or two in front of our peers. But it also feels better to not have to pretend to be greater than we are. Humility allows us to accept our true selves.
Next, Jesus speaks to the first. The host inviting only those who were already in his social circle, he expected he would soon be able to take advantage of their generosity. Jesus called the host to instead invite those who would find it impossible to repay him. This is true generosity. In his story of the Last Judgment, the host welcomes those who gave food to the hungry and drink to the thirsty, telling them that what they do for the needy they do for him. Generosity given to those who cannot repay you is generosity given to Christ. This is how the host of the Kingdom of God invites people to the ultimate feast.
God’s kingdom operates in reversal of the values the world teaches us. Recall that last week we heard Jesus tell the crowds that some are last who would be first, and vice versa. Today we see how that works at a wedding banquet, an event he often used to portray the kingdom. In today’s reading, not even the outcasts of society are excluded from the wedding feast. God’s kingdom is inclusive. As the song goes “All are Welcome.”
Love, Peace, Joy,