“Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14)

Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Isaiah 25:6-10A

On this mountain the LORD of hosts will provide for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines. On this mountain he will destroy the veil that veils all peoples, the web that is woven over all nations; he will destroy death forever. The Lord GOD will wipe away the tears from every face; the reproach of his people he will remove from the whole earth; for the LORD has spoken. On that day it will be said: "Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us! This is the LORD for whom we looked; let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!" For the hand of the LORD will rest on this mountain.

Philippians 4:12-14, 19-20

Brothers and sisters: I know how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance. In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need. I can do all things in him who strengthens me. Still, it was kind of you to share in my distress. My God will fully supply whatever you need, in accord with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father, glory forever and ever. Amen.

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."

In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus teaches us with another parable. The kingdom of heaven is compared to a king who gives a wedding banquet for his son. When the invited guests do not show up, the invitation is extended to everyone whom his slaves would find on the streets.

Jesus teaches us time and again that divine salvation is for each and every one of us, regardless of who we are. But when we accept the call of God and partake in the banquet, we accept the call of God, we are expected to wear a wedding robe, otherwise the king would tell the attendants to throw us “into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 22:14).

Putting on a wedding robe is to conform to a dress code, a code of behavior. If the dress code is not beach wear, I cannot wear shorts and flip flops to a restaurant for fine dining. If I do this, I would not be allowed in; I am disrespectful of the other guests. If the kingdom of heaven is the banquet, the wedding robe symbolizes my thoughts, words and deeds. If I accept God’s call for redemption, I must conform to what is expected of my Christian faith.

Sometimes I have the opportunity to attend daily Mass at noon. I am almost a stranger in that church and yet every time I go there, I am amazed by the warmth and welcome from the people around me. On one dull, snowy and stormy winter day, I bumped my car into someone’s car in the church parking lot. I was forgiven right away before my apologies without my asking. On another bitterly cold day, I did not have my gloves with me and a gentle lady whom I did not know pulled out a pair of gloves from her purse and made me wear it for the short walk to church. In them, I see what “people of goodwill” means when we pray the “Glory to God” at Mass. There is so much to learn from them, to whom I am a stranger. They are attending the wedding banquet with the proper attire. I must be like them, I must live my life “in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27).

The moral of the parable is, we must remember, “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). We must follow and imitate Jesus, conform our will to God’s and join the priest as he prays the Eucharistic Prayer during Mass to “order our days in your peace, and command that we be delivered from eternal damnation and counted among the flock of those you have chosen” (Eucharistic Prayer I).

Posted: October 15, 2017

Shiu Lan

Shiu Lan is your Catholic neighbour with a simple faith and likes praying the Rosary. With a B.Sc from the University of Hong Kong, she worked in Information Technology and Project Management before working with joy at home.

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