By Canon Gerry Conroy
One of the things I find difficult in this period is that the longer it goes on the more it seems to reduce everything to a monotonous uniformity. I think as human beings we need to be able to break out from the routine of our lives every now and again and celebrate. We need to do something different, whether it’s have a party or go on holiday, we need a change. In these times the opportunity to do that is either taken from us or severely reduced. It is no surprise that people are still trying to meet and celebrate events, or just to celebrate together. We need that change. When it is not available to us we suffer, and this pandemic, with these restrictions – even though they may be necessary – that are imposed on us, we suffer.
The trouble, however is not just in the pandemic. Life itself, in different ways, is forcing us into drudgery. The economy is taking over our lives: we are in danger of serving money, rather than money serving us, or at least money serving only a limited few. Because life is so pressured and expectations are so high, people work hard and to compensate party hard, but such a life style still leaves us feeling dissatisfied, or at least caught in a routine where the highlight is some form of escape.
We need to be able to break out from the routine of our lives every now and again and celebrate, says Canon Gerry.
So, what I don’t understand in the Gospel is the reaction of people who prefer to go off to work than enjoy a party. It is just not natural. It makes me ask if they, like us, had become so restricted by their circumstances that they couldn’t appreciate the invitation to the wedding. Were they so cowed by their life that they could no longer see any other way of living other than the one they had grown used to. That can happen to anyone; we are in danger of it happening to us during this pandemic, of thinking we are in this dark tunnel for ever, but it can also happen to us in life that we fail to lift our eyes and look beyond the drudgery of everyday life, to gain true freedom in life, to look and see if there is something better.
This story that Christ told, is an invitation to lift our eyes and look to the banquet to which we have been invited, to the hope and joy that faith gives and promises. We can lose sight of that not just in the pandemic, but in life. We need to remember we have an invitation to something better; we do have something better to look forward to. We are being invited to look and see exactly what that is.
Canon Gerry Conroy is parish priest of St Patrick’s, Dumbarton