Thursday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time, August 22
May Each and Every One of Us, with the Help of God’s Grace, Come to Always Know the Joy of Being “Chosen”, So That We Will Forever Share in the Eternal Wedding Feast of Our Lord.
We find in today’s Gospel the phrase, “Many are invited, but few are chosen.”
When I think about the parable of the wedding feast which we read today, I begin to realize what a wondrous gift God has given to each of us – inviting us from the very moment of our conception to become a fruitful and active member of the Body of Christ, in which our Lord Jesus is Himself the Bridegroom and we are members of His Bride.
If you and I should look back on our past life, especially when we were living through our teenage years and when we were young adults, can we honestly say to ourselves that we were always faithful members of His Church? Can we honestly say that we have never turned our backs on His Love?
I do not know about you, but I know our Lord must have found me wanting in so many ways at times! I am just eternally thankful that He was very patient with me.
And as I look back at a time when my children were young, and as I now watch many of my grandchildren now experiencing what each one of us once experienced – a searching, a journey of finding one’s way in this life – the struggles of growing up can become very difficult, especially in a society and in a world today which does not wish to recognize or even acknowledge God’s Presence among us.
Sometimes, these struggles even take us away from His invitation to be near Him. There are many in the world today who call themselves Christian, but their souls are oftentimes clothed in anything but His Divine Light – in the wedding garment needed to enjoy His Eternal Wedding Feast. Instead, their souls are steeped in sin, and their lives are sadly lived without remorse.
And yet, it is in God’s Merciful Love and His profound understanding of our weak human nature which gives us the chance to be reconciled and reunited with His Love. God gives us the opportunity of clothing our souls in the only attire which truly matters – the wedding garment of personal sanctity!
The choice of answering His invitation, the choice of opening our hearts to all that God freely offers to each one of us is a personal one. It is a choice which allows us to enjoy the blessings which His Kingdom has to offer on both sides of the eternal – in the here and now and the many graces which He makes available to us, and in the life to come with all of its eternal wonders beyond human description. Or it becomes a choice which sets us up as strangers, as foreigners, setting us apart from the Divine Bridegroom, setting us apart from His Love and all that His Love bestows.
We may begin our journey with the best of intentions, but then as we age and mature, when we should be growing in wisdom, we begin to make choices which are contrary to the will of God, foolishly setting ourselves apart from Him. When we should be growing in holiness, our actions begin to diminish, if not completely extinguish, God’s grace within us!
We see this unfolding in our First Reading today. Jephthah, one of the twelve Judges of Israel, was a person who freely chose to embrace the God of his fathers, in spite of all the idolatrous pleasures and evil seductions which surrounded him. And Scripture tells us that “The Spirit of the LORD came upon [him].”
But, then, he makes a rash vow to his God which results in very tragic consequences. The sacrifice of children was strictly forbidden by Mosaic Law; and even though the Biblical writer reports its occurrence, he does not comment on the gross offense which Jephthah’s actions of offering his daughter as a “burnt offering” had against God’s Love.
Was Jephthah aware of the wrongness of his act, or were his actions committed out of ignorance? The Bible does not tell us. But when we reflect upon the actions which many today commit against God’s Love, there are those actions which result from a willful choice and others which result from ignorance – not knowing or ever being taught the Mind and Heart of God.
That is why catechesis is so important – teaching our children the truths of our faith when they are young and setting a proper example for them to follow; so, as they grow older, they at least have an informed awareness of what God is asking of each of them, and prayerfully they will choose to follow Him – so that they, themselves, may be attired in the wedding garment of holiness.
In the beginnings of our Church, there were hundreds upon hundreds of people who freely chose to be clothed in holiness, even to the point of dying for their faith – freely choosing to become martyrs – rather than turning their backs on the God whom they came to know and love with all their hearts.
They were filled with the hope which Jesus Christ promised to all those who would say “yes” to His invitation to the greatest of all wedding feasts. They knew their “yes” would cost them their lives, but their anticipation of and their belief in the greatest of all gifts, eternal life, overcame their fears.
And our psalmist today echoes these very sentiments, words of praise which should be proclaimed even today from our own lips, “To do your will, O my God, is my delight, and your law is within my heart!”
God invites each of us to his Eternal Banquet, so that we may share in His joy. As we look at ourselves in a mirror as God would see us, are we ready, are we prepared to feast at the Lord’s banquet table if we should be called today? Are we clothed at this moment in the wedding garment of righteousness?
I pray that, as we continue to cope with our daily struggles through this life, filled with so many vales of tears, we may never lose heart, we may never lose faith. And that, with the help of His Merciful Love, we may always live in God’s Presence and grow in the hope of seeing our Lord Jesus Christ face to face, one day, in His Eternal Wedding Feast – to which each of us are invited.
Remembering our Lord’s words we read in today’s Gospel, “Many are invited, but few are chosen”, I sincerely pray that, with the help of God’s grace, each one of us, both you and I, may come to eternally realize the joy of being “chosen”! †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “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…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.’” (Matthew 22:2-3, 8-9)
- “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.” (Matthew 22:10-12)
- “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.” (Matthew 22:13-14)
- “I delight to do your will, my God; your law is in my inner being!” (Psalm 40:9)
- “So now, O children, listen to me; instruction and wisdom do not reject! Happy the man who obeys me, and happy those who keep my ways.” (Proverbs 8:32-33)
- “…living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ.” (Ephesians 4:15)
- “Rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, insincerity, envy, and all slander; like newborn infants, long for pure spiritual milk so that through it you may grow into salvation, for you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (1 Peter 2:1-3)
- “Keep yourselves in the love of God and wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.” (Jude 1:21)
- “…Well done, my good and faithful servant…Come, share your master’s joy.” (Matthew 25:21ac)
Prayer for the Day
“O Lord God, my Savior and my dearest Friend,
I pray for the grace and the strength
to remain faithful to Your teachings
and to the Sacramental life of the Church.
“Help me to persevere in the commitments
and promises I have made to You.
Give me the fortitude to live up to the vocation
I received during my Baptism as Your faithful child.
“Help me to place love and service to You
before all else in my life,
remaining true to Your Truth,
not abandoning myself to the lies and deceits of Satan.
“Grant me the grace to be a holy example for others,
never abandoning Your laws for my own sake.
May I be a model of faithfulness and selfless love,
giving You honor and glory both now and forever. Amen.”Anonymous