Homily from Father Alex McAllister SDS
Twenty-Eigthth Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 12, 2014
The Parable set before us today is quite an interesting
one. We can easily see who the various characters
represent. For example the host is God the Father, the
Son is Jesus, the servants are the Prophets and the
banquet is the Feast of Heaven. The people to whom the
first invitation is given are the Jews; but when they fail to come to the wedding for whatever reason the invitation is then opened up to the Gentiles.
However among scholars there are conflicting views about the wedding garment and what it represents. However, according to me, we can say that although the invitation is now open to people seemingly chosen at random, good and bad alike, there are some standards and failure to meet those standards results in the ungrateful guest being cast out.
We have noted that the parables we have had for the last few weeks have been addressed to the Chief Priests and the Elders of the People and this is another one in the series. These parables are meant to highlight the fact that the senior Jews have effectively misused the privileged relationship that God had given them and that through the sacrifice that Christ was about to make this invitation was now to be extended to the whole world.
Those first invited to the banquet have various excuses; as it says, ‘one went off to his farm, another to his business, and the rest seized his servants, maltreated them and killed them.’ The invitation so graciously given has been ignored and the messengers of God have been maltreated and even killed.
It is unbelievable that those who hear God’s invitation should be so preoccupied with their own affairs that they reject it. Even more unbelievable that some of them turn on God’s Prophets to attack and kill them.
Of course, this rejection of God’s messengers is not something confined to the past but is just as much present today. The people of today’s world are far more preoccupied with making money or indulging their own desires rather than ensuring their entrance into the Kingdom of God.
This is an ever present problem for humanity. We have a kind and gentle God who does not force himself upon us but simply invites us to share eternal life with him. The initiative as to whether we take up his offer is completely left to us. The problem is that we are so preoccupied with other things, so distracted with the things of this world, that most of us don’t even hear the gracious invitation of our Creator God.
However, we, the members of the Church, have heard the invitation. We have understood God’s plan for us and we are glad to follow him and we choose each day to embrace the life he has prepared for us.
We should note that those who come in the second batch of guests are not necessarily any better than the members of the first group. The main thing is that they have taken up the invitation; they have responded to the call of God.
Like those in the first group we still do get distracted from time to time. We still fall into sin and frequently forget the correct direction of travel; but hopefully because we have initially responded to God’s invitation we will soon come to our senses and return again to the path of fidelity.
We ought to reflect further on the significance of the wedding garment.
Once we set out on the road to salvation we need to equip ourselves with whatever is necessary to be good citizens of the Kingdom of God. What this means is that we must assiduously acquire the virtues; the living out of the virtues being the essential requirement of anyone who wants entrance to the Kingdom of God. It is these virtues that are in my view represented in the story as the wedding garment.
What are these virtues that we should try so hard to acquire? Well they are all extremely positive things such as goodness, purity, hope, perseverance, temperance, prudence, courage, justice, fidelity, patience, self-control and so on.
In short these are all the qualities that enhance human life. The opposite to a virtue is a vice which is something that breaks us down or perverts our true nature. Vices are negative traits; things which are immoral or sinful and which breakdown our character. Examples include lust, avarice, envy, anger, gluttony, sloth, pride and so on.
It is important to understand that both virtue and vice are habitual aspects of our nature. This means that the more we do a certain thing the more it becomes part of our character; it becomes more easily repeatable and eventually defines who we are.
Thinking about this for two minutes we come to realise that the way to human completeness is to acquire good habits rather than bad habits. We understand very well that those whose lives are given over to negative habits are on the road to destruction while those people who assiduously acquire good habits are on the road to wholeness.
There is an old saying: as a tree leans so shall it fall. According to this the more you fill your life with all that is good and true and beautiful the more likely you are to end your life living in this way. And of course for the Christian this means ending up living eternal life in bliss with the saints in the Kingdom of God.
Those whose lives are full of vice and all that is negative will necessarily end their lives living in this way and will inevitably end up spending eternity in hell in the company of the Devil and all that is evil.
The equation is simple. The choice is yours. We are all of us invited to the wedding banquet but we must not neglect to put on the wedding mantle of the virtues so that we are fully accepted into the Kingdom of Heaven and all the joys it promises.
So let us resolve today to live lives that are true and good and holy. Let us resolve to shun evil and all that is destructive to our human nature. Let us pray that by following the right path we end up as members of God’s Kingdom enjoying eternity with the one who understands us better than anyone.
Digest of Articles from Catholic Blogs and Websites
October 12, 2014
Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A—October 12, 2014
In a parable, Jesus describes a great wedding feast. Those who get invitations would be wise to ask: “What should I wear?”
Gospel (Read Mt 22:1-14)
In the last of three parables in this portion of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus continues to describe the kingdom of God for “the chief priests and elders.” Today, He compares it to “a king who gave a wedding feast for his son.” We should be able to recognize this as an allegory of salvation history right away. It begins with what we usually think of as the end of the story of God and man. The “wedding feast” is a reference to the ultimate union of God’s people with Christ in heaven.
28th Sunday: Wearing our Christianity
This is not a good Sunday for you if you are on a diet. The first reading talks about the banquet of the Lord, where there will be juicy, rich food. Heaven will be pastry without cholesterol.
The gospel talks about the wedding banquet that a king prepares for his son, only to have the invited refuse to come and even mistreat his servants. The King then invites strangers to the meal, who have a whopping great time. Then, in what really is a second parable added on, the king spots a man without the proper wedding garment. He gets really upset and throws the man out where there will be a weeping a gnashing of teeth.
Don’t let this Sneaky Sin Keep You from the Party
At age 16, life was about rock ‘n roll. If my own band was not performing on Saturday night, I was out in the audience watching another band.
It would have never occurred to me to spend my Saturday nights at a Catholic conference or retreat. True, no matter how late I was out, I’d never miss Sunday Mass. But that’s not because it was the source and summit of my life. It was because I didn’t want to go to hell! Being roasted over an open fire for all eternity definitely did not appeal to me. But neither did wasting my Saturday night in a Church event that was not strictly required by divine law.
Do You Long to Deepen Your Faith and Relationship with God?
Do you have a desire to deepen your faith and relationship with God?
There is an exciting and much-needed offering I wish to share with our readers called the The Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, founded by Dan Burke. Dan and I have been good friends for a number of years. His speaking, writing, and work at EWTN and the National Catholic Register, along with his award winning book, Navigating the Interior Life, and his spiritual direction blog have changed the lives of countless thousands around the world. He recently took some time with me to talk about his latest venture.
Go to Your Mother
Traditionally, the month of October is dedicated to the Rosary, and May is dedicated to Mary. But every day is a good time to examine — and implement — Marian devotions.
Some well-known Catholics share d their favorite ones with the Register: The Rosary was by far the most cited Marian prayer. But the Miraculous Medal devotion, Salve Regina, Angelus and Marian consecration of St. Louis de Montfort were also among their practices, along with devotions to the Blessed Mother under the titles of Our Lady of Lourdes and Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Why the Rosary is Not “Vain Repetition”
Protestants sometimes charge Catholics with “vain repetition” in praying the rosary. This is a reference to Matthew 6:7 where Jesus instructs, “When you pray to not babble with vain receptions as the pagans do.”
Sure, when we pray the rosary there is a lot of repetition. The problem is not repetition but vain repetition. If repetition were the problem Jesus would be have an “Errrm whadabout..” moment with Psalm 136 in which every verse ends with “for his mercy endures forever.” No there’s not a problem with repetition was such, but with vain repetition.