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One Is The Loneliest Number

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the wedding hall was filled with guests
Isaiah 25:6-10; Psalms 23:1-6; Philippians 4:12-14,19-20; Matthew 22:1-14

Sermon Week Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A

Scripture Summary Matthew 22:10

There is a bit of ancient wisdom that advises: "If you want to be happy for an hour, take a nap. If you want to be happy for a day, go fishing. If you want to be happy for a year, inherit a fortune. But if you want to be happy for a lifetime, help somebody." For centuries since many of our greatest thinkers have suggested exactly the same thing -- that happiness is found in helping others. Prime Minister Winston Churchill summed it up in this statement: "We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give." -1

God made us to be happy. God wants us to be happy. And, in and through the Lord Jesus, He provides us with a formula for life that casts aside the mistaken notion that we can be happy "on our own." It is the mistaken notion that we can substitute our own formula for God's; the mistaken notion that we are the sole authorities on the subject of life-enrichment; the mistaken notion that our happiness is unrelated to the happiness of others.

Today's Gospel Lesson is the familiar story of the king who prepared a big wedding banquet for his son, but when the time arrived to begin the feast, not one of the invited guests was present. The outraged king ordered his servants to go out into the streets and invite everyone they could find. Matthew tells us they did this until "the wedding hall was filled with guests" (Mt.22:10).

Like all the other Gospel parables, this story has meaning for us today only if we try to understand what it meant to Jesus' original audience. Many of today's leading Scripture scholars tell us that there are nuances present in today's parable which clearly suggest that the invited guests did not actually refuse the king's invitation. The invitees merely found excuses for coming late. The feast was to begin in late afternoon and run until midnight or later. Consequently, the invited guests decided that rather than cancel or postpone their scheduled business, they would [...]

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