THEME: DRESSING UP FOR HEAVEN
READINGS: Isaiah 25:6-10/ Phil. 4:12-14, 19-20 / Matthew 22:1-14
28th Sunday In Ordinary Time
In the parable of today’s gospel reading, though the invitation to the wedding was opened to all, the man who went to the feast without a wedding garment was thrown out. Similarly though God’s invitation to the heavenly feast is opened to all, only those who adorn their ‘heavenly garments’ will enjoy the feast.
It is customary to find people in their best clothes when attending weddings. Similarly the Lord expects us to be in our best spiritual clothes when attending the heavenly feast. What, then, is our best spiritual cloth for heaven? The Letter to the Colossians helps us to find the answer to this question. It reads: ‘as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity’ (Col. 3:12-14, NIV).
Thus, holiness is the spiritual garment which befits heaven. And as one’s wedding outfit is made up of several pieces (e.g. shirt/dress, trousers, suit, belt, hat, etc.) so holiness consists of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, etc. with love as the belt which holds the dresses together.
Today, many people put in a lot to think about and choose the quality of the fabric, colour combinations, the style of the dress, the tailor/seamstress to sew it, etc. Similarly, let us put more effort in showing compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness and love. Let us consider the virtue of compassion for further illustration. To aid us to put more effort in the way we show compassion we may consider the following questions: Does the feeling of compassion towards the poor and needy still burn in my heart? Do I go beyond my feeling to actually help the hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, etc.? How often? Can I help them more often than I presently do? When will I begin to help them the more? We can ask similar questions with regard to the virtues of humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, etc.
Beloved, as people plan and place an order for their wedding garments long before the feast, so let us begin to sew our garments of holiness now by carefully and constantly practising the virtues mentioned above. Finally, may Christ, the Divine Fashion Designer, find the qualities of our spiritual fabrics suitable for the high standard of the garments of holiness which He produces. Amen!
By Very Rev. Fr. John Louis