“Thanks for never texting back like always”
“Lizzy has become a unicorn again”
“Even though you hate me and never text me back, even on vacation…”
During my time in college, the gracious people I’m honored to call my friends and family have learned and begrudgingly accepted the fact that I rarely respond to messages I consider non-urgent. I always read the texts and emails and Facebook IM’s when I receive them, but unless the message involves a personal crisis, a plan I can actually make, school work, or whatever event I’m planning at the time, chances are I won’t respond in a socially acceptable time frame. I know I am a ghost, and I am sorry.
But to my friends and family, I hope you know how much I love you and cherish our relationships. You fill my life with joy and laughter. You should continue to send me messages and invite me to leave my gorgeous swing single. In all honesty, I will likely still not respond and decline your invitations, because I’m at the point of the semester where I received literally 118 emails today and need to read four novels, write two final paper proposals, complete a massive amount of research, and organize a large event. But my stressed ghostliness does not mean I will not support you if you need me or do not appreciate your messages. It just means college frequently feels like the world is on fire, and I’m a firefighter.
In addition to the people in my life, I must also admit I “ghost” God. I pray that He extends His grace, mercy, and forgiveness to me. But sometimes in the Book of Matthew, it’s honestly hard to tell.
Our passage for today begins with Jesus comparing the “kingdom of heaven” to “a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son” (Matthew 22:1-2). The king (i.e. God) invites his selected guests (i.e. the Israelites), but they ignore his request to attend multiple times. Some even literally kill the messengers (v. 5-7). The king then invites anyone and everyone (i.e. the Gentiles), “the bad as well as the good” (v. 10). Time for a happy ending? Well, not quite. The king observes a man without wedding clothes, and told his servants to “tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (v. 13). Okay then. The parable concludes with verse 14, “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
I cannot read Matthew without asking the question, “Am I one of the chosen? Am I really following Jesus?” I do not honestly know. Maybe not. Eh, probably not. Certainly not if I’m judged on my own merit. I miss church some Sundays, I do not pray without ceasing, and I stray from the narrow, righteous path of God found in the Bible. But if my friends can forgive me for not responding to the invitation to FaceTime for months, I’m comfortable placing my hope in Jesus Christ and God’s mercy.
Matthew reminds me that I have no other option.
Elizabeth Hubbard ’18 is a Senior in Lowell House studying Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology.