Both children and adults play the game of a deaf ear where children hear mum or dad calling but their hearts are on fire on something else and they won't respond to the call. They deliberately choose to ignore to the call in the hope that they continue to go on with the game they are playing. Adults turn a deaf ear when their hearts are on fire for something else that is more important than responding to the call of their friends. Their response is slow because they have already committed to something else and it would be hard to change. Excuses are given with the hope that their friends would feel at ease and the relationships aren't being hurt.
In today's Gospel the heavenly king invites guests to attend the royal wedding and those who have been invited give excuses saying that others commitments have already been made. We try to give reasons and that is telling us a number of things about our lives.
Firstly it is the reality of today's modern society. Young and old all are busy with worldly commitments and these commitments are made far in advance. Life's business puts so much pressure on our lives and on the life of our family. Everyone feels that they have to run against time and yet at the end of the day we all get exhausted and some even feel some jobs are left undone. Time for relaxation and life enjoyment is difficult to fit into a busy schedule. Annual holidays are supposed to be a time for relaxation but many would use that time to catch up with house works, laundry and gardening.
Secondly we may console ourselves that there is no need to hurry and there will be time to serve God but the business of life makes us forget that time is flying by. The richness and the livelihood of the community depends on the contribution of times and talents of each member of the community. In this sense delaying in serving our local community is a lost cause.
Thirdly the busy life style tells us that we do believe in God but having time for God can be postpone until we have more time and we know that more time never comes. Pressure and stress harm our physical body and when the body can't take it anymore it collapses and we complain that life is a heavy burden.
Fourthly when we believe God is in the distance and out there somewhere far from us the absence of God in our lives is understandable. We feel comfortable at the absence of God and getting on with things in our lives.
All reasons given are legitimate but not all of them are the right one. They reveal one thing about our inner life, our spiritual journey and that is the business of serving God is secondary, not the priority in our busy life.
In the Gospel we know that the refusal to come to the royal wedding doesn't stop the wedding and it certainly doesn't stop it from being enjoyed. The wedding hall is filled with others, with those who feel God is near and their hearts are on fire in responding to the call. They respond to the call with enthusiasm and with joy and without immediate delay. The wedding hall is filled with a great diverse of people, rich and poor, servant and master, neighbour and strangers are all invited to come to the royal wedding hall.