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A Summons to Preparation

Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time: 10-11-20

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. Mt 22:12.

This is one of those gospels, which can be hard for us to hear: The parable of the wedding banquet. The king in the parable represents our heavenly Father. Throughout the passage the king invites and welcomes guests to the event but choose to either leave or stay (Mt. 22:3-6). Finally, the king welcomes anyone from the streets to come in (Mt. 22:9-10).

Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find (Mt. 22:9).

The party is packed with people. The king comes across the gentlemen not properly dressed and the king asked the man about his attire, and the man is reduced to silence. He’s not prepared to speak on his own behalf. The king has the man bound hand and feet and thrown out into the darkness (Mt. 22:10-13). We might genuinely ask ourselves; what’s up with that?

The great southern Catholic writer of the last century, Flannery O’Connor, who was known for the grabbing her reader’s attention in her use of very tall and violent tales once wrote.

To the hard of hearing you shout (Mystery and Manners, 34).

This Sunday’s gospel is about preparation. The guest was willing to attend the banquet but wasn’t properly prepared. He wasn’t dressed for the occasion. In these kinds of gospel passages; the Lord is trying to grab our attention. Saint Matthew is purposefully being dramatic. 

We have countless distractions and anxieties inundating our hearts and minds in our culture and in the public square. We have to prepare our hearts to engage this noise. The Church has a long tradition of engagement in the public square. We as Catholics are called to be prepared to engage with it; because these issues have as much to do with this world as with the world to come.

We’re offered or bombarded with many opinions on many issues effecting the world. Opinions on economics, climate, Covid-19, prison reforms, race relations, jobs, abortion, euthanasia, marriage, poverty, and so on. We hear opinions about other people’s character, reputation, and abilities. As we find ourselves in the heat of the election cycle, we’re going to hear lots and lots more noise on all the issues facing our country.

So, like the guest in the Gospel this Sunday; the Lord is calling our hearts to be prepared. We want to be properly dressed and ready for the banquet.  How do we prepare? We prepare first by being people of prayer and faithful devotion. We prepare by forming our conscience. Meaning, being open to the Truth and to what is right and…yes, right and wrong still exist. Studying the Gospel and beautiful teachings of the Church on these issues; collecting facts and prayerfully reflecting in order to understand what is the will of God. 

We must remember that our conscience isn’t something that allows us to do whatever we want and it doesn’t revolve around feelings on what we should and shouldn’t do. Our feelings constantly change. Conscience is the voice of God resounding in the human heart, revealing the Truth to us and calling us to do what is good while shunning what is evil. Our conscience is our heart where the natural law is written on our hearts, and we know good and evil. We’re called to preparation in order to clear away all the noise and confusion and to hear the voice of God revealing the truth and calling us to goodness (USCCB, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship-Part I.17).

Saint Anselm Parish + October 11, 2020, Saint Francis Borgia- Pray for Us


Fr. Aidan McDermott, OSB

One thought on “A Summons to Preparation

  1. Beautiful reminder that although we are invited, we must be sure to arrive properly dressed in the tunic of charity.

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