Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
(Isaiah 25:6-10; Psalm 23; Philippians 4:12-14, 19-20; Matthew 22:1-14)
Accepting God’s Invitation to His Heavenly Wedding Banquet
Many are invited, but few are chosen. (Matthew 22:14)
“Don’t touch the stove; it will burn your fingers!” “Don’t cross the street until you look both ways.” Just as our parents gave us warnings to keep us safe, Jesus is giving us a warning in today’s Gospel. He is warning us about the sad consequences people will face if they arrive at heaven’s gate without the mysterious “wedding garment” (Matthew 22:11).
What is this wedding garment? The Book of Revelation gives us a clue. It describes the redeemed as wearing robes that have been made white “in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14). It tells us that those who have been baptized into Christ—those who have immersed themselves in the gospel message of Jesus’ death and resurrection— will know the privilege of joining the Lord at his final, glorious banquet.
Now it’s one thing to receive this wedding garment at baptism, but it’s another thing to keep that garment clean and pure throughout our lives. Each and every day, God wants us to put on our wedding garment—the holy character of Christ—and let it shape the way we think and act.
It is so tempting to be consumed with the demands of life in this world, as the people in today’s parable were, and lose sight of the magnificent feast that awaits us in heaven. That’s why Jesus gives us a glimpse of that feast every time we celebrate Mass. There, gathered as royal wedding guests, we feast on his word in Scripture, and we receive his body and blood. This beautiful assembly, coupled with the grace of Reconciliation, gives us all that we will ever need to keep our wedding garment clean and spotless as we await the final banquet call.
Jesus tells us: “Many are invited, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). God is inviting you today. Accept his invitation! Heed his warning! A glorious life awaits all who keep their wedding garments clean!
“Thank you, Jesus, for clothing me in your grace. Help me to be pleasing to you today.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion
- In the first reading Isaiah describes the “rich food” and “choice wines” that will be provided by the Lord. Every day at prayer we have an opportunity to consume the word of God. At every Eucharist, we have an opportunity to partake of the very God of the universe. How do you usually approach prayer and the Eucharist? What steps can you take to experience more deeply the presence of the Lord in your times of personal prayer and when you receive the Eucharist?
- Of all the psalms, Psalm 23 is probably the one we are most familiar with. “For you are at my side” are words of great comfort. How conscious are you during the day of God’s abiding presence? What can you do to make yourself more aware of the presence of God each day?
- In the second reading,St. Paultells each of the Philippians that they can “do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Do you only ask for God’s help in difficult situations? Do you ever consult him when making a decision or do you normally rely on your own wisdom and strength? What practical things can you do to involve him more in your daily activities?
- In the Gospel’s story of the wedding feast, we can be like the individuals who either ignore the invitation or are so wrapped up in day to day responsibilities we don’t have time to accept the Lord’s invitation. Do you see God’s wanting to be part of your life as a marvelous opportunity to experience a deeper relationship with him or as an unnecessary distraction? What specifically can you do to make yourself more open to God’s invitation?
- The Gospel story also deals with a guest who was not wearing a wedding garment. Jesus wants us to be wearing the right garment for his wedding feast. What do you believe the wedding garment represents for each of us as Catholic men and women?
- In the meditation, we are challenged with these words: “It is so tempting to be consumed with the demands of life in this world, as the people in today’s parable were, and lose sight of the magnificent feast that awaits us in heaven. That’s why Jesus gives us a glimpse of that feast every time we celebrate Mass.” In what way do you find this to be true in your own life? What steps can you take to reflect more on the reality of the wedding banquet that awaits you in Heaven (during the day and when you attend Mass), so that it has a greater impact on your life?
- Take some time now to pray for the grace “to put on our wedding garment—the holy character of Christ—and let it shape the way we think and act.” Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.