Ordinary of the Mass
Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English
that our Lord recounts today ought to give us reason to stop and think about
our own spiritual life. Of course, He is not talking about the proper
etiquette for attending weddings and other big parties. Rather, He is
talking about the conscious and unconscious decisions we all make about our
relationship with God.
First of all,
God extends an invitation to salvation. And for a variety of reasons, a
surprising number of people say “no” to God's invitation. It may be that
like many of God's chosen people, they are looking for the wrong thing. God
offers them holiness, but they are looking for social prestige, or political
connections, or economic advantage. Or, perhaps, God offers them the Faith,
but they are unwilling to accept the responsibilities of Christian behavior
that go along with being a Catholic. God touches their hearts, but so does
the devil, and they are seduced right back into their bad behavior. Or
maybe they are just simply lazy; too lazy to get to Mass on Sunday, too lazy
to learn anything about their faith, too lazy to pray.
the people in the parable, even react brutally. God extends an invitation
to them, but they respond only with hatred, trying to claim that God and
religion are the source of the world's troubles. Sometimes this sort of
hatred even bubbles over into violence and revolution. The history books
are filled with this kind.
goes on to say that when the wedding party was finally filled with guests,
the king came in a found one who had refused to dress properly for the
occasion—particularly insulting since it was the custom for the host to
furnish the guests with the proper attire—the man simply would not make use
of something that was provided freely to him.
that just like the way so many of us conduct our spiritual lives? We accept
God's invitation to salvation; we are baptized, we are members of the
Church, we come to the wedding feast, but we just “go through the motions.”
We come to the wedding feast, but we refuse the garment of sanctifying
grace, rarely if ever confessing our sins and receiving the forgiveness that
God so freely offers to us.
Or we come to
the wedding feast and we refuse to wear the garment of charity. Neither are
we there because we love God, nor because we love our neighbor. Again, we
refuse the use of something that costs nothing and earns us everything.
Or we come to
the wedding feast, but we refuse to do what Saint Paul tells us today when
he says we must “put on the new man.” We claim to be Catholics externally,
but we refuse to make the internal conversion that is so necessary if that
external label is to have any meaning.
Or we come to
the wedding feast and we refuse to eat. And that is precisely what we do if
we try to be Catholics without nourishing ourselves freely with the
Sacraments. Or, perhaps, we come and refuse to spend any time in
conversation with our Divine Host; which is what we do if we ignore prayer
and meditation on holy things.
to some degree, each one of us is guilty in some measure of all of these
things. And, undoubtedly, there are additional ways in which we may attend
the wedding feast while still rejecting God's hospitality, at least in part.
our Lord gives us this parable today: so that we might make an examination
of conscience. Have I been away for too long from Confession or Communion?
Have I allowed the fire of charity to grow cold; neither loving God nor my
fellow man? Have I tried to look like a Christian on the outside, yet
remaining a pagan on the inside? Have I avoided conversation with God in
like these may well be some of the most important you can ever ask
yourself. For the Kingdom of Heaven is like this very wedding feast. Even
though we have accepted God's invitation for salvation, we will still be
judged on the way we conduct ourselves in this life. We don't want to have
come this far only “to be cast into the exterior darkness.” So make that
examination of conscience, and make changes where they are necessary. Make
sure that our Lord wasn't talking about you when He said those ominous
called, but few are chosen.”