Thursday, August 21, 2014

Reflection: Matthew 22:1-14

Matthew 22:1-14

This Gospel reading is a familiar one. However, it is not necessarily an easy one to understand. The reading is the story of the landowner who was having a wedding feast. He wanted this festive occasion to be a grand one. Naturally, he invited his family, friends and neighbors. However, the guests he had invited did not show up! Naturally he was extremely upset. The landowner had prepared for a large crowd. When he sent his servants out to personally remind the guests to come, some of the servants were mistreated, beaten and even killed by his prospective guests! Quite naturally, the king was enraged. He sent out his soldiers to kill the murderers and destroy their property. And they did so! However, the king did not stop there. He sent his servants out into the streets to gather whomever they found. The servants did as he asked and his house was filled!

What does this Gospel say to us? I doubt that we have had the experience this story speaks of. However, we all have been disappointed and upset at various times in our lives. We may have been deeply hurt by someone or betrayed by another. Our natural human response is to be angry, hurt and disappointed — and rightly so. Hopefully we haven’t decided to kill anyone because of that!

In these situations we need to take time to calm down and deal with the hurt, anger and disappointment. We need to acknowledge and feel the emotions. If we repress them, most likely the emotions will come back with a vengeance. But we can’t stop there. We also need to honestly acknowledge what we are experiencing but then with time to gradually “let those feelings go” and forgive. Most often this is the last thing that we want to do! It will take time but it is an important step to take. If we nurse our anger and hurt, we are not hurting the individuals who disappointed us, we are hurting ourselves and those we love! If we are not able to forgive, we simply need to ask God to help us. May we have the grace to ask God to heal the anger and hurt — and to free us!

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