Scripture: Lectionary 422. Aug.23. Ezekiel 36:23-28. Psalm 51:12-13.14-15.18-19. Matthew 22:1-14:
Ezekiel is clear when he speaks of the covenant of the Lord with God’s own people Israel. This is a covenant of enduring love written proclaimed in God’s name for renewal and return of a people cherished by God. The verses are similar to those used by Jeremiah: “a new heart”, “a new spirit,” natural hearts not stony ones. “You shall be my people and I shall be your God.”
Psalm 51 takes up the same refrain: “O God, create in me a clean heart and renew within me a steadfast spirit.” We are encouraged by the prayer for a steadfast spirit, that is, a heart continuing on in a loving relationship with God. We are a community of faith, hope, and love that remains with the Lord through our perseverance and our continuity seen in fidelity and acts of love toward others. This steadfast spirit makes us present to God and God to us. The covenant is renewed daily and often step by step as we move through another day. The prayer that we know as the prayer to the Holy Spirit: “Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful” is in tune with Psalm 51. Our hearts are led to harmonize with what we pray in this psalm and what we have heard the prophet telling us in God’s name. We hear the voice of Jesus confirming the covenant: “And behold I am with you even to the end of days.”
The parable of the wedding feast tells us we are all invited to the marriage feast of the king’s son. This is a messianic parable whereby we are to join in the joy and love of the bride and groom. The king has prepared this for his son, and we are the selected guests.
The guest who does not have a wedding garment may refer to what Rabbi ben Zakkai considers as the good works that are required for the one invited. It may in its Christian context mean that the garment indicates one’s baptism that is required for the Eucharistic banquet of the Messiah Jesus. Both the Jewish and the Christian interpretation of the parable includes doing good works. The Eucharist gives us the spiritual strength to do good works because we are united to Jesus in the sacrament and in our reception of Communion. We can, as St. Paul says, do all things through Him who strengthens us. “ Our receiving of the invitation demands of us to live out our Baptismal commitment. Amen.
Copyright 2012 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.