August 21, 2014

The Gospel Today

Memorial of Saint Pius X, Pope

Matthew 22:1-14

Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and the 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 the king 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.
He 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.”

Reflection (Sem. Max Estayo):

An invitation that is hard to refuse. That is how I would describe Jesus’ call to me to be one of his disciples by way of formation to priesthood. The invitation did not promise comfort, but my heart knew that responding to it would give me unsurpassed joy.

Now, more than a month in the seminary, I can say that I have not regretted my decision to leave my job and my family to follow Him. There is a feeling in me that, despite losing the luxury of long sleep because of the demands of formation in academics and other responsibilities, I am doing the right thing. I am not yet in a state of joy because I am still adjusting, but perhaps once I get used to seminary life, I would find the challenges bearable.

Today’s Gospel further reinforces my decision to enter the seminary. Jesus says the kingdom of heaven is like a wedding feast, where an invitation is sent out to the chosen guests. Alas! They were busy with something else and sent word they could not come. I believe, just like everybody else, the Lord has invited me to be in His kingdom. I have to do my part to earn the ticket, but first I have to accept the invitation.

The Gospel mentions a man plucked from nowhere to fill one of the slots reserved for the invited who would not make it. It teaches me to be ready anytime because I would not know what the Lord will invite me to do next. If I’m not able to act on the first invitation, I will miss out what the Lord has prepared for me.

The man was thrown out because he was not properly dressed. The wedding garment is said to mean repentance. So, in His goodness, God has already clothed me with holiness by forgiving my sins, but if I still reject Him and refuse to change, I won’t be worthy of admission to the pearly gates. That is why I try to reply to His every invitation, because it will prepare me to meet Him in every circumstance of my life, especially that grand meeting in heaven. Jesus says it is a feast and therefore should not be missed. Finally, it is an opportunity to be with Him who is the reason for the feast.

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