Daily Reflection – Aug 18, 2016
Thursday 18 August 2016
First Reading: Ezekiel 36:23-28
I will pour clean water on you and wash away all your sins
Psalm 50(51):12-15, 18-19
Gospel Reading: Matthew 22:1-14
Today’s Note: Thursday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
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.”
The Parable of the Marriage feast symbolises the Messianic banquet and we can view it in 3 sections namely, the two calls to proper guest (Matthew 22 verse 2-7), a call to the outcast (Matthew 22 verse 8-10), and a sorting out at the wedding party (Matthew 22 verse 11-14).
The invitation is a free act of the kindness of God though we know God is not obliged to invite. The wedding garment represents a transformed life reflected in good deeds. Sinners who are invited are expected to repent. So God invites ‘many’ to be part of the Kingdom but only ‘a few’ are chosen by God.
This invitation must be accepted, followed by loving responses since proper behaviour is evidenced by being chosen. Here Matthew distinguished between the initial call of salvation and the final election and perseverance. As such followers of Christ are warned against complacency which is a disease to many who were baptised yet prefer to remain lukewarm in their commitment to the Christian communities and involvement in parish ministries which includes outreach to the poor and the marginalised in society.
Today’s readings speak of renewal and restoration: removing a heart of stone, and replacing it with a heart of flesh. In the first reading, Prophet Ezekiel spelt out the ultimate purpose of God’s plan with Israel which is that the whole world may know the One True God. In Ezekiel 36 verse 26, the phrase “new heart and new spirit” implies a transformed mind and heart. The heart is the seat of thinking and loving, so we are invited to live a life in accordance to God’s will. The Psalmist asks God to restore to us the joy of God’s salvation, and a willing spirit. With this restoration, we can delight in the other offerings we make in our life.
“Lord, lead us in Your way so that we will be drawn to a more intimate and worthy relationship with You.”