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I Am Chosen
Thursday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and the elders of the people in parables saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come. A second time he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those invited: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast.”’ Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged and sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then the king said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.’ The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to meet the guests he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment. He said to him, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?’ But he was reduced to silence. Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’ Many are invited, but few are chosen.”
Opening Prayer: Jesus, I want to respond to every invitation you extend to me. I know that your gifts are worthy of being esteemed above all else in my life and that to turn away from them for anything else, or to put anything in the way, would be foolishness. I know also that you are constantly reaching out to me, even though I am small and unworthy. Yet you choose me. Help me to be ready to hear your call to me this day, as I listen to your words.
- Rejecting a Gift: In today’s Gospel, we have two groups of people. The first are those who were given the first opportunity to enter into God’s kingdom, the wedding feast par excellence, the eternal feast of God’s kingdom. They should have dropped everything in order to participate in it. They didn’t realize that they were rejecting the greatest possible gift, the one thing that matters. We fall into this category when we sin. We settle for inferior things that leave us spiritually empty.
- “Invite Whomever You Find”: The parable took a surprising twist when Christ put these words in the king’s mouth. Jesus said the guests could be good or bad; it mattered not. What must the apostles have thought? They might have been thinking to themselves “This is exactly what Jesus did with me. I wasn’t one of the learned ones. I wasn’t supposed to be God’s ‘first choice’ for a disciple. But he chose me.” It was at once a confirmation of their exaltedness and a reminder of their humility. He has chosen us, too, unworthy and ordinary as we are, to be his apostles.
- No Wedding Garment?: Although we are no one extraordinary, humanly speaking, Our Lord wants us to take seriously the invitation we’ve received to participate in the wedding feast—the kingdom of God. As chosen friends of Christ, we are not to be presumptuous. The value of the kingdom cannot be underplayed; it must be respected and honored. We are called to do our part to always be prepared, with our lamps lit (Matthew 25:1-13). Our fidelity to daily prayer, the sacraments, and service to others will assure we are well-dressed for the feast.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, I am in awe that you choose me to be a part of your kingdom and feed me with the richest blessings. And you promise me this banquet for eternity. Save me from the pride of presumption, and help me to always guard my soul so that I may be a good apostle for your glory.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will make an act of humility, resisting the temptation to see myself as better than anyone else.
For Further Reflection: Reflect on the Litany of Humility, especially the phrase, “That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.”
Father Adam Zettel, LC, was ordained in 2017 and since then has been working as a high school chaplain in Dallas, Texas. During his years of formation and as a priest, he has worked extensively with youth and offers constant pastoral care to families.