Weekly Reflection

As part of my work as Manager, Campus Ministry for the University of Notre Dame Australia I write a weekly refection on the coming Sunday's Gospel and email it to all staff and students of the Fremantle Campus. This then is the weekly blog of those reflections, based on the Gospel readings for Sundays, as per the lectionary of the Roman Missal of Paul VI. Should these reflections find any readership whatsoever, I hope that it is edifying.
The title of my blog is taken from the English translation of Cardinal John Henry Newman's memorial epitaph, which was inscribed on his memorial plaque at the Birmingham Oratory.

Ex umbris et imaginibus in veritatem - Through Shadows and Images to Truth

Sunday, October 12, 2014

12 October 2014: 28 Sunday of Ordinary Time

Gospel Mt 22:1-14
All are invited to the Wedding Feast
The parable that Jesus tells in this week’s Gospel uses the familiar imagery of the wedding feast, one which is quite common throughout the whole of biblical literature.
Here Christ compares the Kingdom of Heaven to a wedding feast, one to which everyone is invited. Those that scorn and refuse the invitation are certainly not forced to attend against their will.
After the refusal of the original guests the invitation went out to one and all, the bad and the good alike, and the wedding hall we are told was filled with guests. We can imagine the joy and frivolity that would have accompanied such a large crowd celebrating the marriage of the son of a king! No expense would be spared with good food, music and dancing. What a wonderful vision of heaven!
One curious detail is included in this story however, and it is that of the guest who took no care to prepare himself for the wedding celebration. The king deals with this guest rather harshly it seems and after an initial inquiry to which the man is non-responsive, the king instructs his servants to bind him hand and foot and throw him out into the dark. What could this possibly mean?
It seems that while all are welcome to attend the joyous wedding celebration of the marriage of the king’s son, there is a requirement that some effort is gone to on the part of the guests before arriving. One can imagine arriving at a wedding celebration after just rolling out of bed, or after a days work in the garden – it would hardly be honouring of the host, indeed it would likely be considered an insult.
In this parable we see a glimpse of the unfathomable mercy of God, but we also get a sense of his justice – all are invited to the wedding feast but there is an expectation that we make some effort to prepare ourselves for this joyous occasion.
The putting off of our old garments and the wearing of a wedding garment has traditionally been understood as the putting off of our old, selfish and sinful ways, and the putting on of the life of grace, which God gives us in His mercy. The invitation is open, and God will give us the grace to aid us in preparing ourselves if we but only ask Him.

Truth Nugget
God loves us the way we are, but too much to let us stay that way

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