Just a word… Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time…
Just a word… Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time… October 11, 2020
Why wouldn’t the wedding guest wear an appropriate garment? After all, one would think he’d have been grateful to have access to the feast, albeit as a third string guest. At least, he would have enjoyed a good dinner, perhaps better than he had ever eaten before. And when questioned about his appearance, why did he have no response? He could have said he lent his garment to a friend in need, or he soiled it washing some- one’s feet. He simply could have said “I am sorry; may I change?” Surely the king had many such garments to spare and would have been happy to give one to our silent guest. The man had nothing to say, which prompted the host to forcibly throw him out into the darkness.
What are we to make of this interesting but strange story? Perhaps we can find a clue in a talk given by Sr. Colleen Gibson, a Fairfield University graduate who became a Sister of St. Joseph. Sr. Colleen works in a Community Center in Camden, New Jersey, and was invited to give the annual Anne Drummey O’Callaghan lecture on Women in the Church this past Wednesday. Sr. Colleen’s topic centered around the theme of the radical (meaning rooted) idea of “showing up.” Showing up implies a commitment, an openness to become part of something greater than your self. It involves a personal investment, one that can bind us to other people in a shared experience or effort.
So, getting back to our silent guest, perhaps he was not willing to really show up, at least in the sense of following the example of the host and dressing appropriately. And just maybe, dressing appropriately had nothing to do with a particular garment at all.
Remember that Jesus taught with metaphors and allegories that were not meant to be taken literally, but rather to engage his listeners to think about their lives and their world, in hopes that they might begin to see life as God does.
When it comes to what to wear, St. Paul got it straight; “I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.” Paul knew that God was a keeper of promises; Paul put on Christ, and that made all the difference. Our silent guest wasn’t willing to invest in the feast, to commit to something greater than himself, to put on the garment of Christ.
What about us? Why did we show up at this banquet today? What’s in it for us?
And are we dressed appropriately? Are we willing to put on Christ?
Sr. Colleen’s words might give us another clue: “Show up for what gives you life.” Enough said.