Daily Reflection
August 21st, 2003
Tom Schloemer, S.J.
Career and Academic Planning
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Memorial of St. Pius X
Judges 11:29-39
Psalm 40:5, 7-8, 8-9, 10
Matthew 22:1-14

Today’s Gospel reading is a rather involved parable of the reign of God.  The characters include the king (God the Father), the son (Jesus), the guests (the Jewish people), the slaves (the prophets), those on byroads (the Gentiles).

According to Jewish custom, invitations were sent for a wedding banquet, but no date was given for the event.  When the date was determined, slaves were dispatched with the information.  The conduct of the invited guests and their treatment of the slaves figuratively recount the troubled history of the Chosen People.  There is a foreshadowing of wider inclusion in the gathering of folks from the byroads.

There are many points at issue in this parable.  Certainly one is that of invitation.  God invites and does not force us.  We can accept or reject.  We are free.

The seemingly harsh treatment of the man not properly dressed for the wedding banquet may cause wonder.  We are invited into God’s friendship.  We are given sanctifying grace as a gift, but it is a gift involving responsibility.  We must live out the Christian message which may necessitate change in values, habits, lifestyle.  The man reportedly had nothing to say.  He had not prepared for or entered into the wedding banquet.

The obvious parallel of banquet in our lives is the Eucharist.  Do we accept the invitation, realizing it is a gift which can transform our lives if we make the effort?  Harsh?  No, a loving invitation.


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