Come to the feast: A change will do you good
In Matthew's Gospel message, all are invited to the feast, just as we are all invited to eternity with God. What becomes difficult to decipher in this message is the metaphor at work.
The host calls the lowliest of the lowly, and all come. At the feast, the host calls upon the one who sticks out, who has not worn the proper clothing.
What? What is being said here? Will our welcome into heaven really be dependent on what we are wearing, how we physically appear?
in Ordinary Time
(Oct. 9, 2005)
Ps 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6
Phil 4:12-14, 19-20
Mt 22:1-14 or 22:1-10
Let's dig deeper into the metaphor. What is the clothing? What does it represent?
This man was called to the table, like all of the others, but he neglected to change his clothes before the feast. God calls to us, and we answer His call, but the story doesn't end
there. We must admit our sins, our faults, and our shortcomings before we can continue on the path to His righteousness.
We must change before we can be allowed into the kingdom of heaven. This man did not change his clothes before the feast, while all others had, and here he was enjoying the feast without making the commitment of change. And here I thought he was getting kicked out because he wasn't wearing Armani.
This parable reminds me of personal struggles. Throughout my life, God has called me to follow Him in so many ways. I have been involved in His church since I was born: serving as an altar boy, always hanging out in youth groups, singing in choirs, and going on retreats. But along the way, I have often felt this sense of hypocrisy.
In retrospect, I know I have put on the face of Christ without changing my clothes. On the outside, I might be that shiny little Catholic boy (you know, the polished and devoted Catholic), but on the inside, I still desire control over my own life.
I still lust for unrighteous pleasure. I still wonder if my prayers are really doing anything. I still doubt in God and his works.
In what ways have you accepted God's call but still refused to change?
How will you change in order to prepare for the kingdom of heaven?
What I need to remember is to trust in God and put on the garment He hands to me day after day. It is not enough to simply act like a God-seeking, prayerful, and spiritual follower. I must know within my own heart that God wants this for me and knows what is best.
I must offer up the ways in which I control my own life and the stresses that come with it, and I must embrace God's presence in my daily life. I must courageously strive for opportunities to change myself in order to fully take up the cross Christ has placed in front of me.
Joel Spiess is the director of the St. Paul University Catholic Center's 11:15 a.m. Sunday Choir. He has also served as a member of the Catholic Student Union, the Building Committee, the Liturgy Preparation Team, and the Arts & Environment Committee at St. Paul's. Joel is a third-year Choral Music Education student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
St. Paul's Web site is www.stpaulscc.org
In a Nutshell
Apostles were early Christian leaders who proclaimed the good news.
Nearly one-third of the Twelve Apostles closely connected to Jesus during his earthly ministry remain unknown in terms of their personalities and particular contributions.
Little is known about James of Alphaeus and Bartholomew, for example. What stands out about them, however, is their dedication to the Lord and readiness to communicate the Gospel.
Catholic News Service
3211 Fourth St NE
Washington DC 20017
Getting to know each
By Father Dale Launderville, OSB
of the Twelve better
Catholic News Service
Apostles were leaders in the early Christian community who carried out Jesus' commission to proclaim the good news about the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 10:7). A number of people are called "apostles." St. Paul, for example, was the apostle to the gentiles.
Among the apostles was a group of Twelve who were closely associated with Jesus during his earthly ministry. Lists of the Twelve occur four times in the New Testament: Mark 3:16-19; Matthew 10:2-4; Luke 6:14-16; Acts 1:13.
What Peter and I have
By Father Paul Campbell
Catholic News Service
When I was in elementary school a teacher once told our class that getting good grades in religion didn't mean we were good Christians. To become good Christians we had to act as if we believed the words we knew so well.
The apostle Peter always seemed to know the answers to Jesus' questions. Yet living out those answers proved much more challenging. I wonder sometimes whether Jesus was speaking to the Israelites or directly to Peter when he said, "Not everyone who says to me 'Lord, Lord' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of my Father."
The apostle of the impossible
By Stanley J. Konieczny
Catholic News Service
St. Jude Thaddeus often is known as the saint of the impossible or of hopeless cases. Though we don't know much about him, people with big unsolved problems pray to him a great deal today.
One of the Twelve, Matthew and Mark designate him as Thaddeus, a name meaning "generosity" and "kindness." Luke calls him Jude, which means "giver of joy."
Copyright © 2005 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
This week's readings
Week of October 9 - 15, 2005
Sunday, Oct. 9, 2005
Reading I: Is 25:6-10a
Reading II: Phil 4:12-14, 19-20
Gospel: Mt 22:1-14 or 22:1-10
Monday, Oct. 10, 2005
Reading I: Rom 1:1-7
Gospel: Lk 11:29-32
Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2005
Reading I: Rom 1:16-25
Gospel: Lk 11:37-41
Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2005
Reading I: Rom 2:1-11
Gospel: Lk 11:42-46
Thursday, Oct. 13, 2005
Reading I: Rom 3:21-30
Gospel: Lk 11:47-54
Friday, Oct. 14, 2005
Reading I: Rom 4:1-8
Gospel: Lk 12:1-7
Saturday, Oct. 15, 2005
Reading I: Rom 4:13, 16-18
Gospel: Lk 12:8-12
Pope's Prayer Intentions
October General Intention
Faith witness. That Christians may not be discouraged by the attacks of secularized society, but with complete trust, may bear witness to their faith and hope.
October Mission Intention
Support for missions. That the faithful may join economic support to their fundamental duty of prayer for missionary works.
Prayer for victims of Hurricane Katrina
Merciful and ever-living God,
since the very dawn of creation
the waters that you created
have brought life from death:
the Great Flood purified our world
and brought forth a new generation;
you led your people Israel from bondage to freedom
through the Red Sea;
from the side of Christ, sacrificed for us on the cross,
water flowed with his precious blood;
and through the waters of baptism
you call us from darkness into your wonderful light.
Look with pity on your people
affected by the waters of Hurricane Katrina.
Calm their fears, comfort their sorrow,
heal their pain and mercifully welcome those
who have perished into your heavenly kingdom.
Strengthen all who are helping them,
and thwart all who seek to create chaos.
Inspire us to reach out to those who are afflicted
from the bounty you have bestowed on us
and, like you once did with the loaves and fishes,
increase our gifts far beyond what we can imagine.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The above is a prayer from the Diocese of Madison's Office of Worship. For more prayer resources for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, visit the Office of Worship's Web page at www.straphael.org/~office_of_worship/
(Click on the link on the main page.)