Fr Vincent's reflections on the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
This Sunday’s parable is the familiar one about the King’s wedding feast for his son. Those invited refuse to come. Then the servants bring in everyone from the roadways. But there is the man who comes without the wedding garment. Are you and I ready to see where we fit into this parable in our relationship with God?
Watch the video: Fr Vincent's reflections on the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Read the text:
28th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2020
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. R/. Amen.
The Grace and Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. R/. And with your spirit.
On this 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, let us pray:
May your grace, O Lord, we pray,
at all times go before us and follow after
and make us always determined
to carry out good works.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. R/. Amen.
As before, if you don’t have your Bible with you, please pause this video to retrieve your Bible so you can follow along. The Gospel today is Matthew 22:1-14.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew
Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and elders of the people
in parables, saying,
“The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who gave a wedding feast for his son.
He dispatched his servants
to summon the invited guests to the feast,
but they refused to come.
A second time he sent other servants, saying,
‘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.
The rest laid hold of his servants,
mistreated them, and killed them.
The king was enraged and sent his troops,
destroyed those murderers, and burned their city.
Then he said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready,
but those who were invited were not worthy to come.
Go out, therefore, into the main roads
and invite to the feast whomever you find.’
The servants went out into the streets
and gathered all they found, bad and good alike,
and the hall was filled with guests.
But when the king came in to meet the guests,
he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment.
The king said to him, ‘My friend, how is it
that you came in here without a wedding garment?’
But he was reduced to silence.
Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet,
and cast him into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’
Many are invited, but few are chosen.”
The Gospel of the Lord. R/. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
None of us would ever intentionally turn our back on God. If God invited us to a banquet, I am sure every one of us would immediately say “Yes,” and come dressed in our finest outfits! So, where is Jesus wanting to lead us with this parable? Are we the invited subjects of the King? Are we the individuals, good or bad, gathered from the roadways? Are we the man who arrived without the wedding garment? Once more, being honest with ourselves, we probably, at different times, can fit into any of those groups.
First, we are the subjects of the king, his invited guests. But, you and I can become busy about our everyday lives and forget God’s invitation to join Him in “celebrating” the life of Jesus. That means, we know the invitation is important, and we want to be part of Jesus’ life (the Gospel), but the issues of life command our attention, and we slowly become too busy to give God’s invitation our undivided attention. If fact, if we allow the busy-ness of life to overwhelm us, we can actually feel bothered by the expectations of the Gospel and rebel against them. Sometimes we can out-and-out refuse to live up to our moral calling, making excuses not to obey God, effectively killing our connection to God. This is sin, and it earns us punishment, just as the king of the parable punished the people who killed his servants.
Next, we are like the people along the roads the servants brought into the wedding feast. God wants everyone, every soul He has ever created, to be a part of Jesus’ life. And it does not matter to God how we have lived our lives without Him. Bad or good, God wants us to join with Jesus. So, we are called time and again, to leave our flawed lives behind and celebrant with Jesus, that is, embrace the Gospel. No one is too bad, no one is unwanted; truly everyone is invited to come into the Body of Christ, the Church. God does not want us to judge ourselves as unworthy. But, we can think that “I don’t belong,” because of our past or even our current failings. God will take care of us, forgive us, if we accept His invitation. We must not condemn ourselves, but accept the invitation and come to the Church and Gospel.
Finally, we can also be like that last man, not wearing a wedding garment. This often struck me as odd that God would invite everyone to come to the wedding, even people on the street, and still expect them to be finely dressed. Is this a double standard? Then it was explained to me that when a king threw a wedding party, the invitation included the outfit the guests were to wear. This way, all would be coordinated to honor the prince. The listeners to the parable would quickly understand this man had insulted the king by not wearing the garment the king gave him to wear. For you and me, this means we need to accept the love and mercy God bestows upon us. If God has forgiven our sins and welcomed us into the Body of Christ, then we must live that forgiveness by not returning to our former sinful ways. God gives us the ability to change our lives and conform to the Gospel. This is the minimum expectation of God, and we can do this because God fills us with his grace.
So, to summarize . . . We are called by God to give undivided attention to the presence of Jesus in our lives by living the fullness of the Gospel. This means that if we ignore God and live life on our terms, we cannot expect to have a place in God’s Kingdom. Second, God’s love and mercy are continually being offered to us no matter our past, so accepting God’s invitation and giving our full attention to Jesus will certainly make us a part of God’s Kingdom. We should never think ourselves beyond the mercy of God. Yet, that gift of mercy means we have a responsibility to live our lives in keeping with what God has offered us. Jesus, first, foremost, and always!
The Lord be with you. R/. And with your spirit.
And may the blessing of almighty God,
the Father, and the Son, ✠ and the Holy Spirit,
come down on you and remain with you for ever. R/. Amen.