What is God telling us today? What is God telling me today? This is a question I struggle to answer these days with all the news of wrongdoing in the Church and world. In today’s Gospel reading MT 22:1-14, we are left with Jesus words “Many are invited but few are chosen.” This is in reference to the man who accepted the King’s invitation to come to the wedding feast. However, he shows up without wedding garments and is noticed by the King, who then orders him cast out.
This is a difficult message from Jesus to understand clearly. Our pastor this morning said because the man did not show up in his baptismal garments, he did not repent and pray and so was rejected by God. Hence it is a warning that God’s gift of eternal life is not unconditional – we must first come to the feast and repent and pray – in order to ensure he that chooses us. Just responding to God’s call with lip service towards his call is not sufficient. Pope Francis says that we are all called to holiness and it is up to us to respond through sincere faith, repentance and prayer. We have free choice!
In the Protestant faith this passage has a slightly different understanding. Whoever responds to the call and receives Christ in faith, are the chosen or the “elect”. However it is God who has done both the calling and the choosing. EP 1:4 – “Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. ” They also quote 2 Tim 1:9 and Rom 8:30 in this regard. Responding to the God’s call in repentance, prayer and faith is because God has been at work to turn us to himself in Christ. Hence it is by the grace of God alone that we are saved.
Whether you believe in a deterministic world (everything is preordained in advance) or an indeterministic one (we have free choice), is not important. What God is saying here is that if you sincerely have faith in Christ, repent and pray, you will be saved and have eternal life.
The importance of listening.
St. Rose of Lima, Patroness of the America’s pray for us.