Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost—30 September A.D. 2018

Ave Maria!



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“Many are called, but few are chosen.”[1]   

    The parable 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.

    Some, like 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.

    The parable 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.

    And isn't 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.[2]  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.”[3]  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.

    Now probably, 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.

    That's why 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 prayer?

    Questions 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 words:

“Many are called, but few are chosen.”



[1]   Gospel: Matthew xxii: 1-14

[2]   Cf. Pope St Gregory the Great.  Book ii, Homily. 38, 9.

[3]   Epistle:  Ephesians iv: 23-28




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