What have you done with God’s invitation?

10-15-2023Pastor's LetterVery Rev. Richard C. Wilson, VF, Pastor

Dear Friends in Christ,

From our Gospel for today we can learn: We have all been invited to heaven, but whether we get in or not depends on each individual person. Arriving there is the most important task of your life and mine. What’s the good of a comfortable lifestyle, a successful career if we lose our soul? As St. Teresa of Avila says about true wisdom, “In the end, the one who gets it is the one who is saved; and the one who isn’t saved doesn’t understand anything at all.”

The parable of this wedding banquet gives us the image of a God who calls all people to share a great feast with him but does not receive the response he was looking for. The banquet is ready, yet few are interested in coming. Some respond indifferently to the invitation because it does not suit their tastes, others openly reject it, and there are still others who devise a plan to boycott and systematically destroy every single moral value to be found in human society, saying that “all expressions of religion should be eliminated, its symbols destroyed, and its voices silenced.”

Nevertheless, God’s ways always respect human freedom. The King’s guests refuse to come to the banquet because they’re centered on material goods, such as their work or business. In a similar way, many people turn away from the faith on account of pleasure seeking or ideologies which envelope them. The modern world is suffering from a spiritual illness.

God continues to hope in us. He has sent his invitations to everyone, to “the good and the bad” alike. Conversion through grace and charity is the key to sharing in the banquet of the Kingdom of God. If this is lacking, we will “be thrown into the darkness outside,” like the man who wasn’t wearing a “wedding garment.”

What does the “wedding garment” stand for? Many believe it to symbolize charity. St. Gregory the Great was right in preaching that there were some in the Church who have faith, yet still lack charity. We are all guests at the banquet of the Word, he says, because we have the faith of the Church and nourish ourselves on Sacred Scriptures. Ask yourselves if you come dressed in the wedding garment; take a look at your thoughts and examine your hearts to see if you harbor grudges against anyone, if envy burns inside of you because of someone else’s happiness, or if you maliciously brood over secret desires to harm your neighbor.

True love brings us to give of ourselves without holding anything back, without deceptions, without limits, and without hypocrisy. If we follow Christ, we can love that way. May we do our best to pattern our lives after Him.

All the best…in Christ,

Father Wilson