Have you ever walked out to the mailbox, opened it up and pulled out a fancy envelope that holds an invitation to something special? You get inside, open it up and it is a wedding invitation that is happening a few months out and you say to yourself, “Now that is going to be an awesome event! I would not miss that one for the world.” It is likely that your family and friends got the same invitation too. So, you mark the calendar, buy a special outfit to wear, grab a gift from the registry and put that invitation in a special place to save. This is an event you will be looking forward to, and you work to get ready. We have all had that experience, right?
In the Gospel and really in all the readings today, there is a message about marriage and about wedding feasts. On the surface, God talks to us through these readings about marriage between two people – in Genesis he tells us, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife and the two become one flesh.” We often hear this reading at weddings.
And in the Gospel today, Jesus Christ speaks about the sanctity of marriage, the special place it occupies because it points to something bigger. Yes, there is something bigger in his teaching today that transcends earthly marriage. The point being made here is not just about marriage between a man and a woman, it is also about our relationship and our marriage to God. God created us so that we would be with him always – that is what he wants! God wants each and every one of us at the ultimate wedding feast at the end of our lives, a feast unlike anything we can even imagine. This is why He sent his only Son into the world, why he sent that most special invitation to each of us. It is to unite us to Him for all time. This is what we hope for.
When Jesus walked this earth, he taught us what a real relationship with God looks like and how we receive that invitation to eternal peace. This is pointed to in the Gospel and is important to remember. He says, “Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” He’s talking about us and our relationship with him. Our destiny and purpose is to be with him, that is why he created us, and we cannot let things of the world separate us from him.
So, going back to our invitation to the wedding we got in the mail. In the months between the invite and the event, we get distracted from it, we get invites to other events like friends saying, “Hey we rented a Cape house, you gotta come with us!” We get tempted and think that maybe we should head to the Cape because, hey, that would be really fun. Hate to miss out on that!
Likewise, on our journey to the ultimate wedding feast, we too get thrown off course because the world does a terrific job of separating us, really you could say divorcing us from that journey to God. We see it around us, we ourselves get caught in this trap of gradually or maybe suddenly losing focus on the prize – the wedding feast. For me, I get trapped worrying about the same, dumb things that really don’t matter in the big picture and I miss seeing Jesus Christ in my everyday life, I miss the opportunity to offer a kind word, I miss the opportunity to be Him to others in need…because I am wrapped up in me when I need to be wrapped up in Him!
So, what distracts you and me from Jesus Christ in our daily lives? Where do we get sidetracked with worries and concerns, or pulled into stuff that is just not really healthy for our relationships with one another and with Jesus Christ? If you are like me, it can be a somewhat long list that is easy to fall prey to.
But wait! There is an antidote that Jesus gives us today to this distraction, really a recipe for staying on the right path in our journey. (Lift up book of Gospels) And it is right here in scripture. Remember toward the end of the Gospel today Jesus rebukes his disciples who were preventing people from bringing children to him for a blessing. It says Jesus, “became indignant and said to them, let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” He then says, and this is important for us, “Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” And do you know what he did right then and there? He embraced the children and blessed them.
This is the antidote, the recipe for staying on our journey, to answering the most perfect invitation. Children have a complete dependence on their parents for everything – food, shelter, protection, and especially love. Jesus is telling us the same thing – we need to approach God and our lives with this same complete and total dependence on Him. Children trust their parents, children let go of their worries, and children love their parents. So too it needs to be with us and God – trust, let go, and love. That is the way to peace in our lives today and the way to a peace that lasts an eternity. This is the way to a loving relationship with him where he will embrace us and bless us because we are His children. But this is a choice we have to make. He has sent us the invitation in the form of His son to the ultimate wedding feast and we have to accept. He is waiting for our reply.