Thursday, August 23, 2012

Few Are Chosen

Few Are Chosen

August 23, 2012
Thursday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts.  I will put my spirit within you and  make you live by my statutes, careful to observe my decrees.  You shall live in the land I gave your ancestors; you shall be my people, and I will be your God.  Ezekiel 36:26-28

Many are invited, but few are chosen."  Matthew 22:14


Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will.  All I have and call my own.  Whatever I have or hold, you have given me.  I return it all to you and surrender it wholly to be governed by your will.  Give me only your love and your grace and I am rich enough and ask for nothing more.   
St. Ignatius, from the end of the Spiritual Exercises


How is the promise of Ezekiel renewed in the banishment of the wedding guest in Matthew's Good News?
If we just read what is said, the prophet promises us that the Lord will provide a new heart and a new spirit to take the place of the stony heart and the wayward spirits that inflict our daily lives.  So, why was the wedding guest not worthy of this new heart?  Isn't this the Lord of "infinite generosity?"  That is what Colleen's reflection taught us yesterday?
In order to be made worthy of the promise of this new covenant with the Lord, we have to make ourselves ready.  We have been told all week that we must take some positive steps to cleanse ourselves.  The work does not fall on the Lord alone.  Sunday we were taught to "forsake foolishness" and to "watch carefully how you live."  Jesus can offer his body and blood, but we must make ourselves ready to partake in the feast.
As we look for the deeper meaning of the parable of the expelled wedding guest, why would the King not have welcomed him to the feast as joyfully as the Prodigal Son's father welcomed his lost son home?  Perhaps because we hear in this story no evidence of change on the part of the guest in his "street clothes."  This is not a story about wearing your "Sunday best" to church. Rather it appears to me the story is that we need to change our inner self first before we can expect a seat at the feast of the Lord.


In these warm waning days of August, while we may yearn for a vacation from the pressures of work and life, we cannot take a vacation from our obligations for piety, study and action.  The Lord does not say "You shall be my people and I will be your God" except when you are on holiday.  This relationship is not like a diet that we can ignore when we are at the beach with friends…it is a diet that we must consume every day.
What will you surrender today in order to make room in your life for the new heart and the new spirit that Jesus promises with his love and grace? 

No comments: