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Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

Ez. 36:23-38 & Mt. 22:1-14

The people of Israel went into exile because they defiled the Promised Land by their sinful deed - they broke the covenant with Yahweh and worshipped idols. God decided to take the initiative, promising to restore His name among the nations by making His people holy, bringing them back to the Promised Land and giving them a new heart and a new spirit.

He would take away their hearts of stone that rebelled against Him and give them hearts that loved Him (Ez. 36;27). God also promised “I shall put My spirit within you, and make you keep My laws and sincerely respect My observances” (Ez. 36:27). Yahweh wanted His people to give more than just external obedience. Rather He desired that they would know Him and love Him as their God.

This is God's desire for us, too, and He has freely given us the Holy Spirit, not just so that we could be obedient to His commands but so that we could know Him personally. The Holy Spirit reveals the Father and the Son to the believer; God freely sent the Spirit at Pentecost, and this same Spirit dwells in us through faith and Baptism, making Jesus and the Father present to all who are open and desire God through His Son.

In the Gospel Jesus tells the story of a wedding. The guests are all wearing their best - all except for one fellow, who has shown up completely unkempt and bedraggled. How would you respond? Would you not feel upset, or even insulted? You might even want to do what the king did!

In Jesus' parable, the people who came to the wedding banquet were not the guests who had first been invited. Not only had some of them refused to come but they even murdered the servants who brought the invitation.

“Many are called, but few are chosen” Jesus said. His statement suggests that some who are invited to the banquet in Heaven will not be granted admission. Why not? Despite the very generous invitation they chose not to put on the clean "white robe" of Christ's righteousness, or because they have allowed their robe to become stained through repeated sin. This is why repentance and more specifically the Sacrament of Reconciliation is such a precious gift that God gives us. Absolved of our sins we are once more made as clean, and more worthy of the promises of Christ.

When we repent Jesus removes the chains of sin that hold us bound. How freeing this is! No longer enslaved to sin, we can experience true happiness and peace, and grow in love of God. Let us stay away from sin, then, and repent quickly when we do fall. Constantly clothed in that robe of Righteousness, let us be prepared for the wedding feast of His Son in Heaven and not be like the guest who was told to leave.

Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your love and mercy, which know no bounds. Thank You for inviting us to the wedding feast of Your Son in Heaven Whose sacrifice on the Cross gave us the possibility of being clean and whole. Encourage us to come to Your Son whenever we need to repent so that we can be cleansed and renewed.

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