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Greetings to all who love to wander along the paths of the Holy Scriptures! The purpose of this blog is to share some of the insights of ordinary Catholics who have begun to delve into the mysteries of the Sacred Scriptures. Hopefully you will find these reflections inspiring and insightful. We are faithful to the Church, but we are not theologians; we intend and trust that our individual reflections will remain within the inspired traditions of the Church. (If you note otherwise please let me know!) Discussion and comments are welcome, but always in charity and respect! Come and join us as we ponder the Sacred Scriptures, which will lead us on the path into His heart, which "God alone has traced" Job 28:23.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Wedding Feast

I have been thinking about the “wedding feast” that God prepares for us. This Sunday’s readings have me wondering about the gift of free will that God has given us. Is free will really a gift or is it a curse? God invites us to the wedding and we can choose to accept or reject the invitation. So many times we chose to ignore the invitation and just continue on with our daily lives. We are distracted by the earthly things around us and refuse to see the beauty that God sets before us every day. His gift of His Son is always before us and available to us.

Isaiah 25:6-10 describes the beautiful gift that God will provide us as a feast of indescribable richness; perfect food and pure wine. 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 safe us!” I have to ask myself, why do I find it so difficult to accept the invitation and so tempting to just stay closed to all that is offered and to keep walking through my daily life without accepting the fullness of the gift.

Psalm 23 expands upon the strength and gifts that God give us. As I mediate on this Psalm, I am reminded of all the unbidden things God does for me if I just open the door to Him and accept His invitation. Through Him, I want for nothing. In the dark days, He is with me, strengthening me and allowing me to accomplish all things in his name. Even though I walk in the dark valley, I fear no evil; for you are at my side with your rod and your staff that give me courage.” As I make my way toward the “wedding feast”, the kingdom of heaven, God not only provides for me but he also guides me on the trip. Again, the key is to be open to the invitation and to accept what God offers. The second reading, Philippians 12-14, 19-20 reminds us yet again that God will supply whatever we need. I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.” God has prepared everything for His faithful servants, but we must freely choose to accept what he offers and to prepare ourselves to enter the kingdom of God.

The parable of the Wedding Feast in the Gospel of Matthew reminds us to accept God’s invitation and to be prepared to wear the wedding garment that God will provide.

Matthew 22:1-14
Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and elders of the peoplein parables, saying,"The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a kingwho gave a wedding feast for his son.He dispatched his servantsto 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 roadsand invite to the feast whomever you find.'The servants went out into the streetsand 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 itthat 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."

St. Catherine of Siena describes that garment as “clothing ourselves in the fire of blazing charity, which adornments of sweet solid virtue, with true holy patience. He does not want [us seeking our] personal honor, but God’s honor and our neighbors’ salvation.” God is inviting all of us to enter into His kingdom; the invitation is freely given. The question becomes, “Why is the invitation not freely accepted?” Why are we so easily distracted? Again and again the invitation is proffered and again and again we reject it. We are mired in our desires, our feelings of independence – that I can do it all, I don’t need anyone. I want the glamorous things of this world, money, status, power. Yet God continues inviting us. He continues to provide the wedding feast for all of us; but we must accept the invitation and then put on the garment of seeking God’s honor, not ours. These thoughts take me back to my beginning question – “Is my free will a gift or a curse?”
Peace to you all, Judy

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