“Responding to the Lord, by acknowledging and accepting His ability to transform our lives!”
(Based on Isaiah 25:6-10, Phil 4:12-14, 19-20 and Mt 22:1-14 – 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time)
A catechism class student in class 8 – known to give creative and clever answers – was asked by the teacher on “what is the meaning of responsibility”
The girl thought for a while, and then said, “Responsibility is made up of two words – Response and Ability!”
… and she went on to say, “Responsibility, is the Response of human beings to the Ability of God to transform us!”
That’s a neat description of Responsibility, isn’t it?
It is a response given by a person…
… by acknowledging and accepting the ability of God to transform oneself!
God is able… God is almighty!
But God requires that we take up “responsibility” on ourselves, by responding to His ability to work in our lives!
The Gospel of the Day is a teaching on this aspect of Responsibility in Life…
… the parable of the Wedding Feast, in which the King sends out invitation to his chosen guests, expecting them “to respond!”
The guests however refused to acknowledge and accept the invite….
… so the King sent out an invite to all those in the streets.
The parable has an interesting twist at this point…
Even those who were called and invited from the streets and roads to attend the wedding ceremony, were expected to have a distinguishing mark.
The distinguishing mark was the Wedding Garment.
When the King came into the hall to meet his guests, he found that one of them was without this distinguishing mark…
“But when the King came in to meet the guests, he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment. He said, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?'” (Mt 22:11)
A free and an open invitation was extended to all.
But once the people chose to be part of the wedding banquet, they were expected to follow certain norms and protocols…
This principle is followed in most of our daily lives too…
One is free to choose any school or educational institution…
… but once, one chooses to be part of it, one ought to abide by its uniform patterns, discipline styles, rules and regulations.
One is free to choose any company or work of place…but once, one chooses to be part of it, one ought to abide by its salary codes, work mechanisms and job culture.
One is free to choose any organization or charitable service centre etc…but once, one chooses to be part of it, one ought to abide by its style of functioning, its norms and working modes and rules.
The person without the wedding garment was also in a similar situation…
He had all the freedom to choose to go or not to go for the wedding.
But once he chose to go for the wedding, he had an obligation to abide by its norms, especially in wearing the wedding garment.
But this man refused to do so!
He probably was too proud to cast off his old clothes or his own clothes and don what the wedding occasion demanded.
He probably was too defiant to show the King that he could choose to have his own way and not get noticed.
He probably was too bold to show others that even if he flouts the norms, he got escape through.
But the King was sharp to notice this man who was proud, defiant and too bold.
Anyone of us could be “this man without the wedding garment”.
We voluntarily choose to follow Jesus as a Christian…
… and we are expected to wear the wedding garment of “His love and virtues”.
Are we without this garment and instead just happy to be wearing our own clothes of worldliness and attachments to sin?
We voluntarily choose to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Eucharist…
… and we are expected to wear the wedding garment of “preparedness, holiness and purity”
Are we without this garment and instead just be satisfied to be wearing our own clothes of unrepentance and impurity and casualness in receiving the Holy Communion?
We voluntarily choose to profess ourselves to belonging to Jesus…
… and we are expected to wear the wedding garment of “being constantly striving towards holiness and building a stronger relation with Jesus”
Are we without this garment and instead just being okay to be wearing our own clothes of being lethargic, impassionate, negligent and a relaxed attitude with respect to our Christian commitment and consecration?
The Gospel of the Day is a strong reminder for each of us to be vigilant and careful in wearing the wedding garments demanded by Jesus our King.
We ourselves have chosen to be part of the banquet of Jesus.
Let us make ourselves worthy of this calling by putting on the garments of the Lord.
The man wanted the good food
… but did not want to comply with the norms.
The man wanted to be part of the celebration
… but didn’t want to a relationship with the King.
We too may want blessings from the Lord.
We too may want many of our wants to be fulfilled by the Lord.
But we fail to have a relationship with Him…
… we fail to comply with His norms and rules!
Prophet Isaiah speaks of the feast to which God calls of us: “On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of fat things, a feast of wine on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wine on the lees well refined!” (Is 25:6)
The Lord is inviting each one of us to His banquet… daily…
The Banquet of the Holy Eucharist. The Banquet of His Divine Word.
The Banquet of His Tender Love. The Banquet of His Immense Joy.
The Banquet of His Holy Spirit.
But we also ought to respond, by wearing the proper garments for the occasion.
If we respond, HE is always there as the strength of our life:
“I can do all things in him who strengthens me.
… and my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:13, 19)
Yes, God is able and almighty!
But it is important and vital that we take up “responsibility” on ourselves, by responding to His ability to work in our lives!
Let us “Respond” to the Lord by acknowledging and accepting His “ability” to transform our lives…
… and thus fulfill our Christian Responsibility!
Are we ready and willing?
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “To advance well, we must apply ourselves to make good way in the road nearest to us…
… and do the first day’s journey!”