STEP #1: LECTIO / READ
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.”
STEP #2: MEDITATIO / MEDITATE
From pre-school until I went to college, I attended various Catholic schools, all of which required me to wear a uniform. I’ve worn red, white, and blue plaid jumpers; green, yellow, and navy plaid skirts; and even a very attractive navy blue blazer while in high school. Needless to say, I totally rocked all of these different fashion trends. However, when I went to college then, I actually had to think about what I was going to wear each morning. I was very indecisive and overwhelmed by having more than two uniform outfit options to choose from each morning. While I know this probably sounds funny, I think what we wear and how we present ourselves says something about who we are, whether it’s dressing well on a test day, making ourselves look nice and presentable for a job interview, or choosing the perfect prom dress (or tux) or wedding dress one day. Now I’ll admit I love lounging around in a hoodie and sweatpants as much as the next person. What I’m saying is not that we should pour hours into choosing outfits or focus solely on how we look, but what we wear, what we say, and what we do should reflect something about our hearts and our interior disposition.
God extends an invitation to all of us to know and love him, and he has given us the free will to decide how we will respond to that invitation. As in today’s Gospel, many people will ignore him completely, and some will even attack those who believe or who try to share the Gospel message. Even if we choose to follow Christ, to believe in his Word, and to serve him, we must continue to repent and change our hearts and minds in order to be able to join him at the marriage supper of the lamb in heaven. One of the charisms of the Franciscan order is metanoia, a Greek word for continuous conversion. It is the constant redirecting of one’s mind and heart towards God, always keeping Christ at the center. We do not want to be like the man who suffers the same punishment as those who reject or ignore God because he was not wearing the proper wedding garment, or in other words, because his heart was not pure. Now we don’t need to worry about what we are going to be wearing literally in heaven, but we should be preparing our hearts even now. This includes thinking about the way we act and dress when we go to Mass, frequenting the sacrament of Reconciliation, and examining our conscience daily. Just as a bride would never walk down the aisle in a dirty or stained wedding dress, may we continue to strive to walk towards heaven with pure and stainless hearts.
STEP #3: ORATIO / PRAY
“Many are invited, but few are chosen.”
How will you respond to the Lord’s invitation?
What does my choice of clothing reflect about the interior disposition of my heart?
What do I need to do to grow in purity of heart?
STEP #4: CONTEMPLATIO / CONTEMPLATE
“Lord, I give you my heart.”
“Blessed are the pure of heart.”
“Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.”
FOR THE REST OF YOUR DAY...
Think about what you need to do to purify your heart and keep Christ at the center of your life today and every day.
SMARTPHONE LOCK SCREEN
Today's prayer was prepared by Maggie Overbeck.