A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 22:1-14)
Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. Again he sent other slaves, saying, ´Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.´ But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his slaves, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his slaves, ´The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.´ Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests. “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, ´Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?´ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ´Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.´ For many are called, but few are chosen.”
Good News Reflection:
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, today is Sunday, your special day. Thank you for this cordial dialogue with you today, and especially for giving yourself to us in the Eucharist. Help me to realize your grandeur.
Petition: Christ, please help me value and take advantage of the banquet of graces that you offer me in the Eucharist. Help me to make time in my schedule for regular Mass and Eucharistic adoration.
1. Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist.“The Eucharist makes constantly present the Risen Christ who continues to give himself to us, calling us to participate in the banquet of his Body and his Blood. From full communion with him flows every other element of the Church´s life: first of all, communion among all the faithful, the commitment to proclaiming and witnessing to the Gospel, the ardor of love for all, especially the poorest and lowliest” (Pope Benedict XVI, First Message to the College of Cardinals in the Sistine Chapel, April 20, 2005). This is what makes us different, this is what makes us Catholic, and this is the biggest advantage of our faith: Jesus Christ, fully present, body and blood, in the Eucharist. As Catholics, we are privileged to have been invited to this banquet of special graces, where our soul is nourished, strengthened and even transformed from within. St Augustine makes Christ himself say: “You shall not change Me into yourself as you do the food of your body, but you shall be changed into Me” (Confessions 1, VII., C.X.).
2. Quality Grace!The Eucharistic banquet provides quality graces for our weary souls. “What material food produces in our bodily life, Holy Communion wonderfully achieves in our spiritual life. Communion with the flesh of the risen Christ, a flesh ‘given life and giving life through the Holy Spirit,’ preserves, increases, and renews the life of grace received at baptism” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1392). We need to nourish our soul! So much time and energy is spent maintaining our bodies (diets, exercise, etc.), yet so little is spent on our soul. How much concern do you have for your spiritual growth and well-being? Grace waters the garden of virtues in your soul. Take care of this garden by frequent reception of the Eucharist!
3. Be Prepared to Receive Our Lord.We read in the Gospel: “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, ´Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?´” Do I attend confession regularly to clean up my soul in preparation for Christ’s coming to me in Holy Communion? Do I pray the “I confess to Almighty God…” at the beginning of Mass with fervor and dedication asking Christ to forgive myvenial(nheï) sins? We need to be dressed with the webbing robe of true Christian charity. We need to let Christ see how much we value the gift of his Real Presence within our hearts. Christ enjoys coming into the heart of a pure, generous and loving soul. May my soul be ready to receive him.
Dialogue with Christ: Thank you, Christ, for reminding me of the amazing treasure of your Real Presence in the Eucharist. Never allow me to fall into routine and “get used to” receiving you in Holy Communion without prior thought and preparation. Help me to be eternally grateful for this total gift of yourself.
Resolution: I will make time in my agenda for more frequent visits to the Eucharist or adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
Fr. Marcial Maciel, LC