In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.
How often have we heard today’s a parable about those people who
were called to the Bridal Feast of the King, and who refused to
come. The one who had acquired a plot of land; he thought he was in
possession of it; in reality, he was so attached to it that he could
not detach himself from it: he was a prisoner of what he thought he
possessed. And so it is with whatever we imagine we possess; it is
enough for us to have the smallest thing in our hand - and this hand
is alienated to us; we cannot use it anymore, we cannot use our arm,
our whole body is conditioned by what we possess, or imagine we
possess: we are held a prisoner by it.
Others refused to come because they had bought five pairs of oxen:
they had to try them, they had a task to fulfil, they had work to
do, they had perhaps what they believed to be a mission in life, and
therefore they had no time for anything except that that was their
And the last refused to come because his heart was full of his own
joy; having married, how could he be concerned with anyone else’s
marriage? He was full of his own joy - how could he participate in
anyone else's joy?
And so, they all turned away from the call.
Doesn't it apply very directly to us? Each of us possesses something
that he deems so important that he is prepared to turn away from God
- yes, from God: there is no time for prayer, there is no time for
worship. At the same time we turn away from other people who need us
because we are busy with our own business?
And how often happens that we are full of joy or of sorrow - but
they are our own, we hug them to our heart, we have no time for
anyone else's sorrow or anyone else’s joy.
But then, what should we do? You hear every Sunday in the Liturgy
words that say, ‘Let us lay aside all the cares of this life’; does
it mean that we must turn away from the earth on which we live, from
the tasks which are ours, from the joys and true sorrows that come
our way? No!
But there is an answer to it perhaps in the lines that precede the
reading from the Epistle which we heard today, where we are told:
Are you risen with Christ? Are you where He is? Is your life hid in
God with Christ? What does it really mean to us? It means that if we
are dead with the death of Christ to everything which is destructive
of love, destructive of compassion, which is self-centredness, which
is self-love, which leaves no space for anyone but ourselves - if we
are dead to all this, and if we have accepted life on Christ's
terms, ready to live for others, live for God, live for the joy and
life of those who surround us - then we are risen with Christ, and
our life is indeed hid with Christ in God, it is at the very depth
of God, at the very depth of divine love! And then we can turn to
the earth; then, instead of possessing we can serve, instead of
overpowering we can try to bring this earth of ours, in an act of
love, in an act of reverence to be free, to be God's earth, to be
able to bring fruit, not as it does being raped, being violently
possessed by us, but giving us its fruit in an act of responsive
love. And the same applies to our tasks; we are called to serve, we
are called to make of all our life an act of concern, of love, of
service - then, all that we do becomes an act of God, then it
becomes meaningful and it does not separate us from God.
And if joy has come into our heart, it is a gift of God; if sorrow
has come into our heart, we can carry it to God, for it to be
integrated in the mystery of salvation!
Let us reflect on this! Let us truly lay aside all the cares of this
life in the sense that let us not be prisoners, but free: Christ has
come to set us free. And then the earth, and our labour, and our
joys, and our sorrows and everyone on earth will become part of the
Kingdom of God. Then indeed, our life will be hid with Christ in
God, but a God Who have chosen so to love the world as to be
incarnate, to become man among men, to take upon Himself all the
human destiny, createdness, life in a fallen world, the consequences
of human sin, and even the loss of God which is what kills. And,
having accepted it all in an act of saving and redempting love, He
has risen, and anyone can enter into eternal life, the life of the
resurrection by uniting himself or herself to Christ. Amen.