Is it just me, or does the parable related in this Sunday’s Gospel have something of a dreamlike – or even nightmarish – quality? Perhaps it’s because the action is all on the level of emotion and reaction:
and all wrapped up in a story about the love of a king for his son, the joy of a marriage feast, the celebration of that love and joy.
The nightmare is that the love and the joy get lost, get twisted up, forgotten and kicked to the corner by the rage, the disappointment, the indifference and the fear.
The dawning hope is the remembrance that at the heart of this story are love and joy, union and abundance, and the king’s persistent invitation to share in the celebration.
It’s not just you. I believe Matthew’s version reflects the temple’s destruction of 70C.E. For him, the violence had already happened, and the new party is just getting underway. The problem is presenting these words as the version Jesus told: common technique of the time, but confusing to us. Luke’s rather different version of the story seems to better reflect the way Jesus may have told it (without the violence).
I liked how Pastor approached it this weekend: “I looked back at sermons I wrote in the past on this passage, and discovered I’ve never preached on the craziness of Matthew [his style, hyperbole, etc.]… and I’m not going to do so so today, either.”
It is a hard passage to wrap one’s head around. Matthew has been beating us over the head these last few weeks making us all feel pretty rotten. Year B is only a few months away… we can make it, we can make it…
I like that. Entering into the “dreamscape” this past week actually made me ache for Matthew – I believe that this evangelist’s worldview was shaped by the fires that he wrote about, and yet he was still faithful. Good for your pastor for having compassion on him and on your flock!