Homily: Who Was not Admitted to the Banquet?
My job is to help people to find Christ and seek eternal life in Him. That is the nature of my vocation. Do you want to see me get mad, then be one of those people who tell others that they have no chance of going to Heaven. They cast people into despair which is a sin. It is the work of the devil.
St. Louis de Montfort tells the story of the devil appearing as a priest in a confessional to tell sinners that God would not forgive them. The Catechism of Trent teaches that Judas is in Hell because he could not bring himself to ask forgiveness for the Christ that he betrayed. So he is not in Hell for betraying Christ but for the despair of believing he could not be forgiven.
The Church teaches that we leave all up to the mercy of God. It is not our role to say who goes to Heaven or to Hell our role is lead people to Christ and so that they can be formed by Him.
However, it is a good idea to know the criteria for going to Hell and today’s reading is a perfect explanation.
Let’s see three groups of one or more people in today’s Gospel. Two are rejected by the King and one is embraced by the king. The two rejected are 1) those who turn down his invitation and 2) the group of one, cast out of the banquet because he was not properly dressed.
The one group left are those who are enjoying themselves at the banquet. Who are they?
Do you know how often I tell you to throw away the concept that good people to go Heaven and Bad to Hell well one reason I say that is because Jesus Himself says it.
Notice among those who accept the invitation are whom Jesus actually describes as the good and the bad. Literally right there. The Greek says the words used for bad also means wicked, miserly the Hebrew word also means badly made. These are people described in the Old Testament as worthy of God’s judgement. However, here they are at the banquet according to Jesus Himself.
Who are the good? Blessed, generous again the opposite of the bad blessed by God but both groups are in the banquet. This group does not intersect with the other two. If we call them those who are at the banquet. However, this group includes the good and the bad.
So who are those rejected from the banquet? First the ones who reject the King’s invitation and the one who does not dress correctly. What do these two groups have in common that this one does not? Simple. They have no connection to the king and no interest in making one.
They have been invited to the wedding feast thrown by the king and what do they say? "Sorry, I have my own business to attend to. I cannot come to celebrate with you."
Who does that? Certainly, not your friend. Certainly not someone with whom you expect a relationship.
The same with the man who is not properly dressed. What relationship does he have with the king? Obviously, none. He does not respect him enough to show up properly dressed.
So those who are rejected by the king are those who are so rooted in their own business that they have no relationship at all with the king. They have been called but they are not chosen because they have no connection to the king and they do not want one.
What words does Jesus use elsewhere to indicated that one is not welcome in the Kingdom of God? “I never knew you.”
It is not the good or the bad, it is the people who develop a relationship with Christ and live that relationship with Him who go to Heaven.
St. Alphonsus of Liguori said that those who pray go to Heaven and those who don’t do not. What is the difference between the two? One group has a relationship with Christ and one does not. It is the aloof who have no interest to have even a modicum of relationship with Him who go to Hell. It is not those who feel Christ rejects them who go to Hell, it is those who do not know Christ except how to spell his name but they were given the opportunity
We are living in a unique time. Much of what has happened in our country is rooted on people’s relationship with Christ or lack thereof. Those who have shown themselves most hostile to the church are those who have no connection to her despite being Baptized Catholics.
One of the questions people ask is when this virus comes to an end, will people return to Mass who came before. I don’t think that is the question. The real question is how many had the invitation all along and were busy focused on other things before the virus even existed. I have discussed this before. “I am sorry I cannot go, I need to attend to my business, I need to prepare for my future, I have a sports practice. Does any of that sound familiar.”
Scary words but there is no difference.
Many of those same people are making decisions based on this implicit rejection of Christ. They have no interest in Christ even though they received the invitation through their infant baptism. They are too busy tending to their own affairs to give one thought to Christ.
Meanwhile there are people who are rejected by society who attend Mass or they pray regularly during this COVID-19 issue and they accepted the invitation.
There are people broken hearted that they feel rejected by Christ. However, the only people Jesus ever rejected by name were the lukewarm. If you look carefully at that reading you will see it is a parable that literally highlights Revelation 3 where Jesus rejects the lukewarm. A couple weeks ago we heard him say to the pharisees that the tax collectors and prostitutes were getting to Heaven before them. The tax collectors and sinners were having a grand old time in Jesus’ banquet. So was the good thief on the cross.
Who does not enjoy the banquet? Those who have their own business to attend to and have no need to listen to him.
We are clearly coming to a point in this country where people have to choose one way or another. Our role as Catholics will be challenged directly and mostly by those who have no interest at all in anything to do with Christ. They are not the bad or the good, they are those who take their salvation for granted. Let us not be them.