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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 22,1-14

Jesus began to speak to them in parables once again,

'The kingdom of Heaven may be compared to a king who gave a feast for his son's wedding.

He sent his servants to call those who had been invited, but they would not come.

Next he sent some more servants with the words, "Tell those who have been invited: Look, my banquet is all prepared, my oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, everything is ready. Come to the wedding."

But they were not interested: one went off to his farm, another to his business,

and the rest seized his servants, maltreated them and killed them.

The king was furious. He despatched his troops, destroyed those murderers and burnt their town.

Then he said to his servants, "The wedding is ready; but as those who were invited proved to be unworthy,

go to the main crossroads and invite everyone you can find to come to the wedding."

So these servants went out onto the roads and collected together everyone they could find, bad and good alike; and the wedding hall was filled with guests.

When the king came in to look at the guests he noticed one man who was not wearing a wedding garment,

and said to him, "How did you get in here, my friend, without a wedding garment?" And the man was silent.

Then the king said to the attendants, "Bind him hand and foot and throw him into the darkness outside, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth."

For many are invited but not all are chosen.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Lord is preparing a feast for all humanity, but all of us - sometimes entire nations - are only concerned with our affairs. We do not pay attention to the invitation that is made to us and we despise the gifts that are offered to us. Our defence of our personal interests - at all costs and at any price - distances us from peace and fraternity. In this light, the parable of the feast is clear. It has as its protagonist a king who prepares a wedding feast for his son and sends his servants to summon the guests. After listening to the servants, the guests refuse the invitation. Each one has his fair reason, his something understandable that has to be done; some in their fields, others in other business. But they all refuse just the same. The king does not give up, however; he insists and sends the servants to repeat the invitation. We can almost hear the apostle Paul, who says that we have to persist in communicating the Gospel in circumstances both favourable and unfavourable. But this time, the guests not only decline the king’s offer; they go as far as to mistreat and even kill his servants. This is what happens each time the Gospel is emptied of its demands or expelled from our lives. In response to this incredible reaction, the king becomes angry and has the murderers punished. In truth, they punish themselves by excluding themselves from the banquet of life, peace, and love. They fall into a hellish life. Nonetheless, the king does not forget his boundless desire to gather people together. He sends out different servants with orders to speak to all those they meet in the streets and squares, without any distinction. This time the invitation is accepted and the hall is filled with guests; the Gospel notes that they are "both good and bad." It almost seems like God does not care what we are; he just wants us to be there. The hall is not just full of the pure and the holy. Everyone is there. In light of other passages of the Gospel, we could assume that there are masses of the poor and sinners at the banquet. According to the Gospel, everyone is invited and whoever comes is welcomed; it does not matter whether we have more or less merit or even whether we are at peace with our conscience or not. In that hall no one can tell who is holy and who is a sinner, who is pure and who is impure.

Memory of the Church