Audio Available!

Audio Available!
Be sure to check out in each blog post the links to the audio recordings of my homilies. They are at the beginning of each post! Also, look to the right for links to Audio from other good resources!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Invitation Accepted!

Audio: click here! (9:30am Mass)

Before we get into today’s readings, I think it will be helpful if we recall last week’s parable, which leads right into today’s section from Matthew’s Gospel.  Last we heard Jesus speak of a vineyard prepared for tenants who were not very obedient.  When the master sent servants to collect produce, they were beaten and even killed!  Finally, the Son was sent, and he too was murdered so they could “acquire his inheritance.”  Through this parable, Jesus is interpreting the history of Israel: God has done everything to provide for them; they reject the prophets; they reject the Son; the Gospel goes to the Gentiles.  Remember the closing phrase: “the kingdom of God will be taken away from you
and given to a people that will produce its fruit."

Very similar to this parable is today’s passage.  It is another reinterpretation of the Bible.  Everything is an invitation to the wedding feast of the King’s Son.  This is easily seen as an image of the offer of the gospel: God wants a relationship with you and invites you into this celebration.  How do they respond?  Many don’t care.  Others get hostile and even kill the messengers! So the King takes vengeance and then invites everyone else (this would be the Gentiles), and the house is filled.  Then, the parable ends with another encounter of the upset king with a man who does not have a wedding garment, which would have been like a ticket or invitation, but symbolically means much more.  The man is thrown out.

So “many are invited, but few are chosen.”  Many are invited, but few cherish the value of the invitation.

The wedding garment has two symbolic meanings.  First, it is a clear symbol for baptism, where the new Christians bear on their bodies a sign of their entrance into the life of Christ – an outward sign of their acceptance of the invitation to the King’s feast.  But secondly, like in last week’s parable, it represents the “good fruit” we are to produce.  When our lives as disciples are not showing any fruits of the Holy Spirit, when we are not living the moral life in a manner worthy of God’s children, when we do not put on love over all things, then we are not wearing our wedding garment as we should.  If we need to, we should get to Confession and get our souls clean before we return to Communion.

But most importantly, friends, all of today’s readings are a reminder to us of the beauty and the privilege we have of attending Mass.  Just as it is nothing but a direct insult to reject the invitation of the king to his son’s wedding, so too it is an affront to God for us to tell Him by our actions that other things are more important than Sunday Mass.  Here God provides us with the best food possible in the best place possible for the best reason possible – not by worldly standards but from the perspective of eternity.  Nothing can replace this offer, so let us not allow the world to steal the gift of Sunday from us.  Let us help and encourage each other to this gift.

OTHER NOTES: (I decided to go a different direction with the above homily)
Deitrich Bonhoffer - The Cost of Discipleship

"Many are called, few are chosen" So many people think God's grace costs us nothing.  As if the Gospel only brings us prosperity.

Run around and tell people you don't agree with abortion, that you don't agree with human trafficking nor the horrible slaveries to sensuality that create the demand for it, that you don't agree with same sex marriage or the exploitation of the environment at the cost of future generations.  If you do that, then I'm sure you will learn that discipleship costs you something.  When you have an enemy truly harm you or your reputation and you try to follow Christ's command to "pray for those who persecute you," then it is obvious that grace is not cheap.  When we begin to realize that "you cannot serve God and mammon" is directed at us in a world that's full of mammon being thrown to us, we then start to notice the price of following Jesus.  That is the Cross.

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