I made a snap decision at the home improvement store recently, and boy, did it come back to bite me.
There on the end-cap, I noticed a very nice price on a six-pack of LED floodlight bulbs. Now I hadn’t gone into the store wanting to buy bulbs…but hey, who can resist a bargain?
One tiny detail escaped my attention, though: these bulbs were of the “daylight” variety. “Bright white.”
Very bright white, I discovered, when I had occasion this week to replace a burned-out incandescent in our master bath.
Glaringly, eyeball-assaultingly bright.
Not exactly the look I’m going for, especially first thing in the morning. And the worst part is, these are LED bulbs. Says right on the package: “LASTS OVER 9 YEARS”. So this hastily-made bargain could bathe me in uncomfortable light for the better part of a decade.
There are other options available, of course – and more than likely, I’ll simply find a new home for the offending bulb and its companions. (Care to make me an offer…?)
But for the moment, this situation has me reflecting on the other types of snap decisions we tend to make in our lives. Someone invites us to make a retreat with them, for example…and we reply with an instinctive ‘no, thanks.’ Or a friend encourages us to head to Mass with him this week…but we take a pass, needing to get game-ready for the Packers-Bears.
There’s something utterly human…completely normal…in those kinds of responses. That’s what Jesus seems to suggest in the parable he shares with us today. Many guests are invited to the feast…but they go with their gut, and refuse to attend.
Tell those invited: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet,
my calves and fattened cattle are killed,
and everything is ready; come to the feast.”‘
Some ignored the invitation and went away,
one to his farm, another to his business.
Thing is, we don’t always notice the long-term impact of our short-term decisions. What are we passing up, when we decline the Lord’s repeated RSVPs?
Saint Paul rebuffed just such a solicitation for many years, until Christ made him an offer he couldn’t refuse on the road to Damascus. Paul reversed his earlier not-so-bright decisions, and discovered the incredible bounty that awaited him – as we hear him say in today’s second reading:
I can do all things in him who strengthens me.
My God will fully supply whatever you need,
in accord with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
Don’t know about you, but I’d call that a bargain. The best I ever had.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.