Desire, Repentance, Conversion
Hello and welcome to Spend Five with Jesus for this Sunday, October 15th, 2023. I am the friar, and I am so glad that you have joined us today.
Today’s readings talk really about the invitation to salvation. In the first reading, we see what salvation is going to be like, and the images that are used are things that in fact are known to us, things that would be appealing to many. The rich food, the choice wines, really the mountain that just has everything we could possibly need, the mountain that is the mountain of salvation.
And the things that are not so great, and most in particular, death, will be destroyed forever. Because God does not glory, God does not want, God does not desire the death of a person. God wants to save us, God wants us to live eternally, God wants us to have eternal life. And so those things are particularly important for us to consider as we take a look at these readings that we get today.
The gospel is a little bit different because in fact the gospel takes a look at who gets invited. So this is a gospel we have to understand as being addressed to the chief priests and the elders of the people. So the parable is really designed to teach them something about salvation. So what is it that he’s trying to get at?
Well, if you look at the chief priests and the elders, a lot of times when there’s this interaction between Jesus and these chief priests, these elders, Pharisees, scribes, etc., what we see is not really a change in the law, but a deeper understanding of the law.
And if we think of the Pharisees in particular, one of the things that was really important for them was that they saw themselves as being separated from society to preserve their cleanness. And so they didn’t really have a desire to want to be with those people who were not clean, who made them ritually unclean.
And so Jesus is always kind of showing in these parables, I think, the importance of human dignity and the importance of everything that leads to or comes out of the dignity that God has given to us and intends for us to safeguard. But those who are invited, they don’t come.
Now this is a little bit of the history of Israel here. We see these stories as we read through, particularly the Old Testament, people couldn’t live up to the invitation, they couldn’t live up to the requirements. They got distracted. They got distracted and they even turned away from God deliberately to do the things that they knew they should not do. And they got to the point where they were giving all kinds of excuses for not serving the Lord God. We don’t know why.
I mean it could be as simple as, “This is really what I want to do.” But it also could be a case where what we see is something that they just got distracted with things that didn’t fulfill. And then they kept trying to get more and more and more of these things that don’t fulfill. And that’s really what the gospel is about.
So they refused the invitation and not only that, there are those who kill those who are inviting them on behalf of the king. Now that’s a pretty bold and brazen action and we know that sometimes the life of sin can be bold and brazen. We can turn away in really big ways in our lives. I know I can. And so it really is important for us to recognize what’s going on here.
Finally, the king gets so frustrated he wants everybody at this banquet. He just says go out and invite everybody. So the invitation is given to everybody. The invitation is given to anyone who wants to be saved. But there’s a caution at the very end.
It may seem odd to us that he went out to the highways and byways and got anybody and everybody and then this poor man is not dressed in a wedding garment and, quite honestly, he is then kicked out. Which seems to run counter to our modern sensibilities.
But here’s the thing, we’re all invited to be saved. Every single one of us is given the gift to be saved by Jesus. But we have to accept it. We have to accept this gift of salvation, and we have to do something to show that our acceptance is genuine and authentic. God desires to save us, and He will save us.
But we have to have the contrite heart, the repentance away from sin. We have to turn away from those things that are not pleasant, and sin is not pleasant. It’s evil. It’s ugly. It’s terrible. And so, when this guy is confronted, thought he could just show up and not do anything, he’s reduced to silence because there’s no answer he can give.
He didn’t really think much about what he was going to do to show he wanted to accept the invitation, he just showed up and he didn’t give any account. He couldn’t give any account. Now it’s possible that if this man had any kind of reason for not being ready and it offered that kind of reason, then perhaps it would have been the case that the situation would have been different.
What it means for us is that we have to recognize our need for conversion. We have to recognize that we need to open our hearts. We need to turn our hearts to the Lord Jesus. We need to show that we will accept His invitation by living the way that He knows will be most fulfilling for us.
And that’s really a tremendous, tremendous circumstance and situation. We ask the Lord today to help us, to truly accept the invitation to salvation by changing our lives, by repenting, by converting, and by asking God to give us the benefits, the fruits, the life that is comes when we truly accept His invitation to salvation.
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