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19 Pentecost - Matthew 22:1-14

I have accused my best friend of raising three beautiful children: a son, a daughter, and me.

He has taught me a lot and rescued me from myself on multiple occasions, including our

college classmates' wedding.

I showed up without a suit jacket.

He shook his head at me and gave me one to borrow.

He considered better than I did the significance of the occasion.

He clothed me in righteousness so that I wouldn't diminish or dishonor the party.

According to Matthew, he also saved me a trip to the dentist.

Like last week's parable in the vineyard, this week's story features violence and murder, then adds bouncers sending wedding crashers to tears in the outer darkness for fashion fouls.

Both are unique to Matthew, who is uniquely concerned about mercy, so why has the gospel

turned so merciless?

Why does the gospel author who rails so constantly against judgment present Jesus being so judgmental?

Perhaps the gravitational pull of violent negativity is just too relentless and strong; perhaps like many of us Matthew is being sucked into the same toxic behavior he is fighting against.

Hatred of hatred, intolerance of intolerance, fighting against fighting, and fear of fear are sadly ironic and common conditions.

Love is blind, and so is anger, especially when they are mixed together.

Matthew is passionate about the kingdom of heaven, the reign of God's mercy introduced,

embodied, and elaborated by Jesus.

In this kingdom there is grace on offer for all from the ruler of all reality...and people don't care.

The news of the kingdom is too good to be believed, and it is not being taken seriously.

Some people are losing their minds this week over a president refusing to cover his face even after being hospitalized with COVID-19.

Matthew is losing his mind because God's people are being just as perilously careless and

cavalier about God's life.

Too many of God's chosen people treated the Messiah even worse than they treated the prophets before him.

Too many of the party-crashing Gentiles don't appreciate thier windfall of divine mercy enough to put on new attitudes and behaviors.

Too many of us all take everyday grace for granted.