August 19, 2021
Thursday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings for Today
Saint John Eudes, Priest—Optional Memorial
“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.” Matthew 22:2–3
The king in this parable is God the Father, and the wedding is the marriage between Christ and the Church. The Father invites each one of us to be a member of the Church and to enter into divine union with His Son Jesus, thus entering into the life of the Holy Trinity. But we see right away in the parable that the invited guests “refused to come.” As the parable goes on, the king tried even harder to invite the guests, but they all responded in one of two ways. “Some ignored the invitation and went away…” and “The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them.” Clearly, this was not the response hoped for by the generous king.
We see in these two responses two levels of rejection of the Gospel that are present in our world today, just as it was at the time of Jesus. The first level of rejection is indifference. Many people are very busy today. We easily become occupied with many things that matter little in the end. Many are consumed by their smartphones, computers and tablets. Many spend countless hours watching television. Others become workaholics, spending most of their time at their occupation and leaving little time for that which is most important, such as family, prayer and service. As a result, it is very easy to become indifferent to the matters of faith and easy to fail to pray every day so as to seek out and fulfill God’s will. This indifference is quite serious.
There is also a rejection of the faith in our world through a growing hostility toward the Church and morality. There are many ways in which the secular world continues to promote a culture that is contrary to the Gospel. And when Christians speak out and oppose these new cultural tendencies, they are condemned and often characterized as being prejudiced or judgmental. Such malice was displayed by the guests in this parable who “laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them.” Hostility toward the Church, the faith and clear moral principles laid down by God appears to be growing every year. This form of rejection of the Gospel is even more damaging than the simple indifference mentioned above. In this parable for today, Jesus says that in response to those who were indifferent and hostile, the king “sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city.”
This parable should not be read in such a way that we look at others and condemn them as if we were the king and had the right to do so. We do not have that right. Only God does. Instead, this parable should be read from the perspective of your own life. Hopefully you are not one of those who are hostile to the Gospel. But perhaps you and many other Christians struggle with the first form of rejection: indifference. We can easily become indifferent in many various ways and on many different levels. The opposite of being indifferent is to care and to care deeply about going to the wedding feast when invited.
Reflect, today, upon the Wedding Feast to which you are invited. You are invited to enter into the glorious celebration of becoming one with the Savior of the World. You are invited to surrender your life to Him without reserve. You are invited to holiness, moral integrity, unwavering fidelity to God, service of others, charity that knows no bounds and so much more. To enter the Wedding Feast of the Lamb is something that must take place every day and every moment of your day for the rest of your life. God is inviting you. Will you say “Yes” with every fiber of your being?
My inviting Lord, You desire that all people fully accept the invitation You have given to become one with You through spiritual marriage. You call us to the glorious Wedding Feast and eternal rejoicing. May I never be indifferent to Your invitation and always make my response with all my heart. I love You, dear Lord. Help me to love You all the more. Jesus, I trust in You.
Scripture Meditations for Ordinary Time
Saint of the Day – Saint John Eudes, Priest
Featured image above: Parable of the Great Banquet By Brunswick Monogrammist, via Wikimedia Commons
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