Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture reminding us to always be humble and to obey the will of God in our lives. In the first reading today, we listened to the words of St. Paul in the letter he wrote to the Church and the faithful in the city of Philippi. St. Paul spoke of how Christ was obedient to the will of His Father, even to the acceptance of the cross, its burden and suffering, that we may be saved through Him and His obedience.
St. Paul said that the attitude of Christians should be the same as that of Christ, in His love, His obedience to the will of the Father and in the selflessness and humility which He exhibited throughout His life and ministry on earth. Christ became obedient unto death for us, because He loved us so much, that He did not mind even to lay down His life, by offering Himself as the perfect offering and sacrifice in atonement for our sins.
Many of us Christians have not done these in our own respective lives. Many of us have instead been affected by the greed and desires of this world, as mentioned in the Gospel passage today by the Lord Jesus Himself, Who taught the people using a parable to show them how the Lord has called His people to follow Him and to come to the banquet of love which He has prepared for them. And yet, those who were invited to the banquet refused to come, because of the many excuses they had.
What are these excuses, brothers and sisters in Christ? It is the temptation of worldly pleasures and corrupt behaviours, such as money, sexual favours and pleasures of the body, power and prestige, influence and fame, all of which often distract us from the true focus and attention on the Lord. To us, all the worldly distractions and temptations seem to be better and more fulfilling than what the Lord offers us.
And that was why, in the parable which the Lord Jesus used, those who were invited to the banquet refused to come, giving all sorts of excuses to the king. The king who became angry upon hearing all of these rejections and excuses, cast those guests out and cancelled their invitations. Instead, he went and asked his servants to invite and to get any people they could find on the roadsides and in other places.
This is a way for the Lord to rebuke the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, who at that time were the influential and powerful ones among the society and the community of the people of God. And yet, they were so busy with their own pride, ego and desire, that they refused to believe in the truth which God has laid bare before their own eyes, and which they have witnessed.
Instead, the Lord Himself mentioned how the prostitutes and the tax collectors, all those deemed as sinners and wicked by the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, were going on ahead of the latter in the journey towards salvation in the kingdom of God. These were the ones who listened to the Lord’s call and responded to Him, and accepted His invitation to come to His eternal kingdom of love.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, reflecting on this, we should also be receptive to God’s call in our lives. And often, He is calling us in the depth and the silence of our hearts and minds. Unless we make the effort to attune ourselves to God, we are likely to miss out on the words of the Lord, through which He is calling us to righteousness and justice. And we can do this through the improvement of our spiritual relationship with God.
Let us all turn towards God therefore with a renewed faith and commitment, desiring to love Him all the more, day after day. Let us all find our way to reach out to God’s salvation, and to enter into God’s everlasting kingdom. May the Lord be with us all, and may He guide us into His kingdom of glory. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.