Sunday, October 15, 2023
For this Sunday, we offer the short meditation prepared by the PMS National Direction in Poland, which wrote, at our request, the liturgical commentaries for all the days of the missionary month of October 2023, sent by email to the PMS national directors for their use in missionary animation. I take the opportunity to thank them again for this text (with much gratitude to the translators). The PMU has added the Useful Points to Consider.
XXVIII Week of Ordinary Time - Year A
Saint Teresa of Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church
This Sunday’s Gospel, in the heart of missionary month, urges us to invite people to the wedding feast. The wedding feast is an image close to us. The wedding dreamed of and desired by the bride and groom represents their feast day for which they prepare, taking care of every detail so that it will be an unforgettable day to remember for a lifetime. A day of celebration to be shared with the people closest to them. The image of the wedding is present and often recurring in the Bible. Many events in salvation history happen in this context. The prophet Hosea uses the wedding image to describe the covenant relationship between God and his people, a covenant made by God, eternal and joyful that overcomes the crises and repeated infidelities of the people. Even the sacraments of Christian life are interpreted as the celebration of this marriage between God and man. But the emphasis of today’s Gospel passage is on the invitation: “He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast [...] A second time he sent other servants [...] Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.” Go out to invite to the feast. Being a messenger heralding a joyful invitation is the task of each of us. This being sent implies carrying an invitation to the feast. Mission basically consists in this and demands messengers who bring good news that they themselves live and witness. In the face of a needy and often indifferent humanity, which often rejects the invitations made by the Lord, may the Lord raise up messengers of hope and comforters of hearts, for the feast will be held anyway and blessed will be those who attend.
Useful points to consider:
Pope Francis, Address to the Participants in the General Assembly of the Pontifical Mission Societies , Clementine Hall, Saturday, 3 June 2023
We have been sent to continue this mission: to be signs of the heart of Christ and the love of the Father, embracing the whole world. Here we find the “heart” of the evangelizing mission of the Church: to reach all through the gift of God’s infinite love, to seek all, to welcome all, excluding no one, to offer our lives for all. All! That is the key word. What does Jesus tell us in the parable about the wedding banquet (cf. Mt 22:1-14) – which went wrong because the guests did not come… one was concerned with his farm, another had to travel, a third was getting married, and so on – what does the Lord tell us? He says, Go to the crossroads and invite everyone, everyone: those who are healthy, sick, bad, good, sinners... all. This is the heart of mission: that “all”, excluding no one. Every mission of ours, then, is born from the heart of Christ in order that he may draw all to himself. This was the mystical and missionary spirit of Blessed Pauline Marie Jaricot, the foundress of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, who was very devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Pope Francis, Homily, Holy Mass and canonization of the Blesseds: Andrea De Soveral, Ambrogio Francesco Ferro, Matteo Moreira and 27 Companions; Cristobal, Antonio and Juan; Faustino Míguez; Angelo Da Acri, Saint Peter’s Square, Sunday, 15 October 2017
The parable we have just heard describes the Kingdom of God as a wedding feast (cf. Mt 22:1-14). The central character is the king’s son, the bridegroom, in whom we can easily see Jesus. The parable makes no mention of the bride, but only of the guests who were invited and expected, and those who wore the wedding garments. We are those guests, because the Lord wants “to celebrate the wedding” with us. The wedding inaugurates a lifelong fellowship, the communion God wants to enjoy with all of us. Our relationship with Him, then, has to be more than that of devoted subjects with their king, faithful servants with their master, or dedicated students with their teacher. It is above all the relationship of a beloved bride with her bridegroom. In other words, the Lord wants us, He goes out to seek us and He invites us. For Him, it is not enough that we should do our duty and obey his laws. He desires a true communion of life with us, a relationship based on dialogue, trust and forgiveness.
Such is the Christian life, a love story with God. The Lord freely takes the initiative and no one can claim to be the only one invited. No one has a better seat than anyone else, for all enjoy God’s favour. The Christian life is always born and reborn of this tender, special and privileged love. […]
The Gospel, however, warns us that the invitation can be refused. Many of the invited guests said no, because they were caught up in their own affairs. “They made light of it and went off, one to his farm, another to his business” (Mt 22:5). Each was concerned with his own affairs; this is the key to understanding why they refused the invitation. The guests did not think that the wedding feast would be dreary or boring; they simply “made light of it”. They were caught up in their own affairs. They were more interested in having something rather than in risking something, as love demands. This is how love grows cold, not out of malice but out of a preference for what is our own: our security, our self-affirmation, our comfort. […]
There is one last idea that the Gospel emphasizes: the mandatory garment of the invited guests. It is not enough to respond just once to the invitation, simply to say “yes” and then do nothing else. Day by day, we have to put on the wedding garment, the “habit” of practising love. We cannot say, “Lord, Lord”, without experiencing and putting into practice God’s will (cf. Mt 7:21). We need to put on God’s love and to renew our choice for him daily.
Pope Francis, Angelus, Saint Peter’s Square, Sunday, 12 October 2014
In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus speaks to us about the response given to the invitation from God — who is represented by a king — to participate in a wedding banquet (cf. Mt 22:1-14). The invitation has three characteristics: freely offered, breadth and universality. Many people were invited, but something surprising happened: none of the intended guests came to take part in the feast, saying they had other things to do; indeed, some were even indifferent, impertinent, even annoyed. God is good to us, he freely offers us his friendship, he freely offers us his joy, his salvation; but so often we do not accept his gifts, we place our practical concerns, our interests first. And when the Lord is calling to us, it so often seems to annoy us.
Some of the intended guests went so far as to abuse and kill the servants who delivered the invitation. But despite the lack of response from those called, God’s plan is never interrupted. In facing the rejection of the first invitees, He is not discouraged, He does not cancel the feast, but makes another invitation, expanding it beyond all reasonable limits, and sends his servants into the town squares and the byways to gather anyone they find. These, however, are ordinary, poor, neglected and marginalized people, good and bad alike — even bad people are invited — without distinction. And the hall is filled with “the excluded”. The Gospel, rejected by some, is unexpectedly welcomed in many other hearts.
The goodness of God has no bounds and does not discriminate against anyone. For this reason the banquet of the Lord’s gifts is universal, for everyone. Everyone is given the opportunity to respond to the invitation, to his call; no one has the right to feel privileged or to claim an exclusive right. All of this induces us to break the habit of conveniently placing ourselves at the centre, as did the High Priests and the Pharisees. One must not do this; we must open ourselves to the peripheries, also acknowledging that, at the margins too, even one who is cast aside and scorned by society is the object of God’s generosity. We are all called not to reduce the Kingdom of God to the confines of the “little church” — our “tiny little church” — but to enlarge the Church to the dimensions of the Kingdom of God. However, there is one condition: wedding attire must be worn, that is, charity toward God and neighbour must be shown.