It’s Ours for the Taking

Is 25:6-10a / Phil 4:12-14, 19-20 / Mt 22:1-14

There’s an old Peanuts cartoon that shows Charlie Brown and Lucy pondering the meaning of life. “Charlie Brown,” says Lucy, “Why do you think we’re put here on earth?”

“To make others happy,” Charlie answers.

Lucy doesn’t like his answer. “I don’t think I’m making anyone very happy… Of course, nobody’s making ME very happy EITHER…”

She pauses a bit, then becomes quite indignant and roars, “Somebody’s not doing his job!!!”

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I wonder who that could be! Not Lucy!

Are you really happy, deep down inside, every day? Are you? Am I? I suspect that most of our answers probably fall in the range of “sometimes” and “more or less.” And that tells us we haven’t really accepted God’s invitation to his feast.

Not a day goes by that God doesn’t send messengers saying, “Come to my feast, and be happy.” Sometimes the invitation comes in the form of a sudden glimpse of something very beautiful or someone very good. And our heart says, “That’s what I’ve been looking for!”

Sometimes God’s invitation comes in the form of restlessness and uneasiness that leaves us sad and lonely, vaguely longing for something more. In one form or another, the invitations keep coming — no matter how often we look the other way. But even with sadness pushing us from behind and goodness pulling us forward, we resist and dither and stall.

So it has to be said plainly: If we ever hope to be happy, we have to commit all we’ve got and jump. It’s not possible to leap just halfway across a chasm! It’s all or nothing. And so it is with our quest for happiness. That’s the point of the man without the wedding garment: He did come to the banquet, but in a T-shirt, even though he knew that proper garments were always provided at the door! He was there, but not entirely — just like us so often.

So what is it that we have to bring to the feast of life? What is the price of happiness? The price is a pure heart, a heart that trusts God so thoroughly that it puts aside everything else and looks at the world through his eyes, and then acts wholeheartedly on what he SEES.

The reward for doing that is instantaneous: Freedom and happiness! Freedom from everything that traps or blinds us. Freedom from everything that kills love and smothers joy. And most of all, freedom from fear.

It’s all we really want: To be at peace and to be able to love without holding anything back. It’s all we really want, and now we know how to get it: By trusting God enough to let go of all that is narrow and small in us, and to start seeing with his eyes and letting his great heart reshape our heart in his likeness.

It’s all we really want, and like that stack of wedding garments at the door, it’s ours for the taking.