The Readings for the 20th Thursday, Tempus per Annum (C2)
Memorial of Bl. Mannes, brother of St Dominic
My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?Matthew 22:12 (AV)
ONE CAN READ the King’s Question as rather snobbish: this is a wedding. Why are you not dressed right? It can be imagined to be clear why this man isn’t dressed right. The servants were told, “Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.” It makes sense that some would not be ready, right? No, actually. It doesn’t. There are two possible ways to read this man’s presence at the feast.
Given that everyone else went home and changed clothes, this man came running to grab food and paid no attention to social traditions. That, in and of itself, is a bad show. The King recognized someone who just taking for granted his largesse instead of coming to celebrate the wedding (which is what this is about – the wedding). The second reading, the Fathers all agree, is that a “garment” is a symbol for virtues. Coming to the banquet is not enough, it has to have an effect on us.
There is a great hew and cry among the liberati that “Jesus eats with sinners”. This is true. But the reason he does so is to change them into saints.
None of us can come to the banquet and stay in our normal clothes.
The Eucharist is the meal that consumes us, that changes us. It has been compared to the way metal heats up in a fire: although the metal (our soul/life) never burns the fire “catches” inside and the metal glows red hot with the heat. The fire is there in another form, doing something to the metal that the metal cannot do on its own, nor can anything else except fire do it. The Eucharist sets us aflame, if we but let it, and we are changed.
The Gospel is open to all, but it will leave none of us alone.
We can fight it off, mind you. We can demand our rights. We can insist on doing things. our own way. We can fail in obedience to the Church, the Gospel, and the Holy Spirit. Then we will be cast, “into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”
Come as you are, but be ready and willing to change on all points. It will do us no good simply to ignore Jesus on this point: Many are invited, but few are chosen.
Pray to be chosen.