My “Homiletic” Reflection for August 20, 2015
On Matthew 22:1-14
(Our Chapel at the Novitiate in St. Paul)
“Anything interests between those who love.” “Anything interests between those who love,” so thinks the main character of Jane Austen’s gripping novel Emma. While I’ve wildly torn that line out of its context, as I tend to do with all texts—including lyrics—there is a core of truth to Emma’s ruminations that bears on the gospel for today. God’s Son has a beloved, and that beloved is the Church, a body to whom all are invited to celebrate the Eternal Feast, the Heavenly Banquet, the Supper of the Lamb.
Have you ever been in love? How does it make you feel? For me, it is, in a truer sense of the word than previously applied, gripping. And it is all too devastating. In love, now, as Ed Sheeran says in his melodious duet with Taylor Swift, “Everything has changed.” The morning air is crisp, food tastes a bit better, and unbearable people are suddenly more bearable; and all of this, simply because of that stirring desire within us.
Yes. And what of our loving relationship with God? Isn’t it similar? To quote a more authoritative source, I’ll turn to Pedro Arrupe, who has taught us to pray, “Nothing is more practical than finding God, than falling in Love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.” Everything? Yes, everything. That’s what our life in the novitiate is all about: God is courting us, and we take a couple of years to figure out exactly how to respond in a “quite absolute, final way.” Our vow formula zealously reads, “I vow to your divine Majesty, before the most holy Virgin Mary and the entire heavenly court, perpetual chastity, poverty, and obedience in the Society of Jesus.”
But, of course, there is one difference between romantic love between solely human spouses and our relationship with God. Human partners alone cannot promise perpetual things for each person in this bond “passes away” into the hands of Hades. There is always the “til death do us part” of human relationships that makes them decidedly tragic. Yet, as for us, Christ has overcome death, and we commit ourselves solely to Him.
I daresay to all the first years, and to everyone really, something that I have found for myself to be true—that if you want to be with Jesus forever, then you are in good company here; that if you want to make a radical vow to the Lord, then you will find peace here; and that if the heart inside you is softly speaking to God “Take, Receive, Everything” then you have found your place here, for we are men of Jesus, in the Society of Jesus.
David J.W.Inczauskis, n.S.J.