Thursday August 20, 2020.
Readings: Ezekiel 36: 23 -28, Responsorial Psalm: 51, Gospel Matthew 22:1 -14
This parable tells a very strange story: all those who received the invitation to the king’s banquet not only refused to attend but treated the messengers very badly. The king was not to be stopped: he sent his servants to the crossroads and they gathered ‘all they could find, good and bad alike’. The hall was full. God’s invitation to partake in his great banquet is not restricted to the Jews, his kingdom is now open to all, without any distinction, even to those who seem unworthy. I stand and wonder at God’s goodness and mercy towards all. I ask to be like the Father in his mercy and generosity.
But the text also underlines the link between the kingdom and judgement: the first guests were punished for their crass behaviour, and the guest without the proper attire was expelled from the banquet and sent to where there is darkness and the gnashing of teeth. By not accepting the Kingdom I am excluding myself from it. I ask for the grace to be consistent in my choices, a person of integrity.
Understanding this parable requires we understand the symbolism of the wedding garment. This garment is a symbol of one who is clothed in Christ and, specifically, one who is therefore filled with charity. There is a very interesting lesson to learn from this passage.
First, the fact that this man was at the wedding feast means he responded to the invitation. This is an indication of faith. Therefore, this man does symbolize one who has faith. Second, the lack of a wedding garment means that he is one who has faith and believes all that God says, but has not allowed that faith to permeate his heart and soul to the point of producing true conversion and, therefore, true charity. It is the lacking of charity in the young man that condemns him.
The interesting point is that it is possible for us to have faith, but to lack charity. Faith is believing what God reveals to us. But even the demons believe! Charity requires we embrace that will interiorly and let it transform our lives. This is an important point to understand because sometimes we can struggle with this same situation. At times we can find we believe on the level of faith, but are not living it. Both are required for a life of authentic holiness.
The story is symbolic. But the invitation to us is a real one. It is an invitation to aim at the good life. The invitation to the kingdom of heaven is cast wide, yet we are free to say yes or no. Ask for the grace to be consistent in your choices, a person of integrity.
God bless you. Have a wonderful day.