How do you respond to an invitation to a party? Jesus uses the metaphor of a party invitation to talk about a deeper spiritual principle in this week’s Gospel. We’re all invited to the heavenly banquet, which actually begins on earth in the Mass. But how do we respond?
Father Ian VanHeusen presents an examination of conscience and spiritual exercises on the Mass reading from the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Matthew 22, the parable of the wedding feast for the king’s son and the dismissive and abusive invited guests.
We invite you to watch Father’s video, then prayerfully read the Gospel and reflection. We pray that this might help you in your apostolate, your family, your classroom, or personally… to prepare for and more deeply experience Sunday’s Mass, and to better integrate the Sacrament and the readings into your daily life.
Three ways we respond to invitations:
1. We ignore the invitation… delaying the response and allowing ourselves to be distracted by less important preoccupations.
2. We actively oppose the invitation.
3. We accept the invitation.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (22:1-14)
Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and elders of the people in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come. A second time he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those invited: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast.”‘ Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged and sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.’ The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to meet the guests, he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment. The king said to him, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?’ But he was reduced to silence. Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’ Many are invited, but few are chosen.”
The Gospel of the Lord
1. Are you avoiding or delaying answering the invitation? Busyness is not an excuse. How can you reorder your priorities for God?
2. Are you snide or dismissive about pious Catholics? Are you sarcastic in active opposition to God’s awesome invitation to be with Him in deeper relationship here on Earth?
3. How are you working toward the ideal? Accepting God’s invitation with abandonment and spiritual freedom? What subtle ways do your behaviors thwart your full pursuit and acceptance of Jesus?