Lectionary Reflection for the Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost

From Matthew (BTCB) by Stanley Hauerwas, commenting on Matthew 22:1-14:

Jesus has come to feed us. He has fed the five thousand and the four thousand. The kingdom is about food and, in particular, food for the poor. But the food given by Jesus is not only to feed the hungry but to stage a banquet. This is a feast of God’s abundance. Yet many seem to think that they have all they need and refuse to take the time to attend the King’s banquet. They act as if they need no king, consumed as they are by their daily lives. Some, insulted by the persistence of the king’s invitation, even kill his slaves. Jesus, just as he had in the parable of the wicked tenants, suggests that the way the king’s slaves were treated is the way that Israel had treated God’s prophets. . . . This parable also makes clear that those who come to the banquet from the streets are expected to be clothed by the virtues bestowed on them through their baptism. If the church is to be a people capable of hospitality, it will also have to be a community of holiness. Jesus expects those called to his kingdom to bear fruit (Matt. 21:43). He has made clear in the Beatitudes how those called to his kingdom will appear. To be poor and outcast may well put one in a good position to respond to Jesus’s proclamation of the kingdom, but Jesus expects the poor and the downcast to live lives worthy of the Lamb who will be slain. Only a people so formed will be able to resist emperors, who always claim to rule us as our benefactors.

 

©2006 by Stanley Hauerwas. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.