Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide

EZEKIEL 36: 23 – 28

Thus says the Lord: “I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them; and the nations will know that I am the Lord, says the Lord GOD, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. For I will take you from the nations, and gather you from all the countries, and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances. You shall dwell in the land which I gave to your fathers; and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.

The Word of the Lord

Psalm 51: 12 – 13, 14 – 15, 18 – 19 (R.) Ezekiel 36: 25

R/. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses

Create a pure heart for me, O God;
renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence;
take not your holy spirit from me. R/.

Restore in me the joy of your salvation;
sustain in me a willing spirit.
I will teach transgressors your ways,
that sinners may return to you. R/.

For in sacrifice you take no delight;
burnt offering from me would not please you.
My sacrifice to God, a broken spirit:
a broken and humbled heart, O God,
you will not spurn. R/.

Psalm 95: 7d, 8a

Today, harden not your hearts, but listen to the voice of the Lord.

“Invite to the marriage feast as many as you find.”
MATTHEW 22: 1 – 14

At that time: Again Jesus spoke to the chief priests and the elders of the people in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a marriage feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the marriage feast; but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, Behold, I have made ready my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves are killed, and everything is ready; come to the marriage feast.’ But they made light of it and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burnt their city. “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the streets, and invite to the marriage feast as many as you find.’ And those servants went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good; so the wedding hall was filled with guests. “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment; and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and quashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”

The Gospel of the Lord
REFLECTION: Without Charity…

“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.” (Matthew 22:10-14)

This may be quite shocking at first. In this parable the king invited many to the wedding feast of his son. Many rejected the invitation. He then sent his servants out to gather anyone who would come and the hall was filled. But when the king came in, there was one not dressed in a wedding garment and we can see what happened to him in the passage above.

Again, at first read this may be a bit shocking. Did this man really deserve to be bound hand and foot and thrown outside into the darkness where there is wailing and grinding of teeth, just because he didn’t have the right clothing on? Certainly not.

Understanding this parable requires us to understand the symbolism of the wedding garment. This garment is a symbol of one who is clothed in Christ and, specifically, one who is therefore filled with charity. There is a very interesting lesson to learn from this passage.

First, the fact that this man was at the wedding feast means he responded to the invitation. This is an indication of faith. Therefore, this man does symbolize one who has faith. Second, the lack of a wedding garment means that he is one who has faith and believes all that God says, but has not allowed that faith to permeate his heart and soul to the point of producing true conversion and, therefore, true charity. It is the lack of charity in the young man that condemns him.

The interesting point is that it is possible for us to have faith, but to lack charity. Faith is believing what God reveals to us. But even the demons believe! Charity requires we embrace that truth interiorly and let it transform our lives. This is an important point to understand because sometimes we can struggle with this same situation. At times we can find we believe on the level of faith, but are not living it. Both are required for a life of authentic holiness.

Reflect, today, upon both your faith in all that God has spoken, and the charity that this hopefully produces in your life. Being a Christian means you let your faith sink from your head down to your heart and will.

Lord of all love, may I have deep faith in You and in all that You have spoken. May that faith sink into my heart producing love of You and others. Jesus, I trust in You.

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