Gospel Meditation – The scary things Jesus says

October 15, 2023  –  28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

I confess that I have a soft spot for the scary things Jesus says because they are usually ignored. But there’s gold in them thar hills, if we have courage to look. This week Jesus gives us a terrifying warning in his parable about the king who gives a marriage feast for his son and promptly goes berserk when people don’t respond. The point: those who do not properly respond to God’s generous invitation will face totally devastating consequences. The invitees who don’t show up get their city burned to the ground. The poor homeless man is tortured for not wearing the correct clothes. Scary indeed. 

Is Jesus trying to intimidate or bully us into following him? No, because that is certainly not how he treats anyone in the Gospels. A better view is this: to Jesus, your life matters. The universe is not an empty wasteland where anything goes. It is a theater of love offered and either accepted or rejected. How easy it can be to glide through life thinking my life doesn’t make a difference. But it does. It really does. 

This should not only be sobering but exhilarating. The positive side of the negative in Jesus’ scary parables is the thrill and joy that he is inviting us, therefore our lives matter a great deal. There is a reason to get up in the morning. God’s generous love is relentlessly calling us. True, obstinately saying no through our indifference is a catastrophe for us and those around us. But how wonderful must the consequences of our ‘yes’ be?     

— Father John Muir


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