Who is Invited? Who is Worthy?

This Wednesday we celebrate the Memorial Feast of Saint Teresa of Avila.  On this date, the Church will begin a yearlong celebration of the 500th   anniversary of her birth.  Teresa was a Carmelite nun in Spain who was a religious reformer, a mystic, and a pioneer in the spiritual life.   She wrote a great deal about prayer and the spiritual life.  Her writings have been translated into several languages.  Two of her famous books are The Way of Perfection and The Interior Castle.  Among the writings attributed to her, one of my favorites is:

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

Teresa, along with Catherine of Sienna, was one of the first two women to be named a Doctor of the Church in 1970.  [Among the 35 Doctors of the Church, only 4 are women.  The other two women are Theresa of Lisieux and Hidelgard of Bingen].   

Next Sunday, October 19, is World Mission Sunday.  It is a day organized by the Propagation of the Faith, set aside for Catholics worldwide to recommit themselves to the Church's missionary activity through prayer and sacrifice. Our ongoing support of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith is vital to the missionaries serving in 1,150 dioceses throughout Asia, Africa, parts of Latin America and Europe, and on the Islands of the Pacific. Your generosity makes it possible for local priests, religious, and catechists to reach out to communities, families and children in desperate need, bringing the light of Christ to the darkest of circumstances. This year’s theme is taken from Matthew’s Gospel: “I will build my Church.”  Let us prayerfully consider how we can help Christ build his Church through our prayer and support of the Missions this year.

Today’s Gospel passage is the parable about the king who gave a wedding feast for his son.  He sends his servants to summon the invited guests to come, but they refuse.  A second time he sends out servants.  Some ignore the invitation and others kill the servants.  Eventually, more servants go out and invite whomever they find to come to the banquet. When the king arrives, there is someone not dressed in a wedding garment and that person gets thrown out of the feast.  The story ends with the line: “Many are invited but few are chosen.” Sometimes, these parables are a bit confusing.  We ask ourselves who really is invited and who really is worthy of being at the banquet feast.  Everyone is invited and no one is really worthy.  Today’s Gospel gives us an opportunity to think about the excuses we sometimes make when we are invited to enter more deeply into relationship with God.  It causes us to stop and think about what is taking up our attention or consuming our energy: things of this world or things which truly lead us to the eternal life.  On another note, perhaps this parable leads us to extend an invitation to another to join us in the Eucharistic banquet next week.  We are the servants whom the master sends into the highways and byways to beckon others to share in the joy of the Gospel and the banquet of life.

Blessings on your week!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ