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The Everyday Prayer

printable version

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 continues to teach through parables. He speaks of a king who wants to invite guests to the celebration of his son’s wedding. The parable represents the invitation to salvation that the Lord continues to offer to all peoples and to all individuals. Unfortunately today, many still refuse the invitation offered to them. But the king does not give up; he wants our salvation so much that he continues to knock at the door of our hearts. In fact he sends new servants, that is, he continues to repeat the Gospel message. But often, after having heard it, we block it, preferring our own affairs and commitments. The invitation to the king’s servants is met with rejection. Our concerns are more important than the king’s invitation. The king is indignant, and so instead of other servants he sends the army to exterminate those assassins and destroy their goods. In reality, excessive attention to our belongings makes us competitive and at times become so ruthless that we are pushed to destruction. The king, however, does not give up; he again sends the servants to call those whom they meet and to invite them to the wedding banquet. This is the meaning of the universality of the Gospel invitation: all men and women, all peoples are called to hasten to salvation. In fact, this time the invitation is taken and the room is filled with diners. The Gospel notes that the invitation was offered to the good and the bad. Really no one is excluded from the banquet. With satisfaction, we note that the room is filled with diners. It almost seems as though God is not interested in how we are; what he wants is that we are there, that all are in that room. Better still, on hearing the other pages of the Gospel; one could say that the poor and the sinners, the prostitutes, the tax-collectors enter before the just. In any case, whoever arrives is welcomed; no matter whether one deserves it or not, or whether one’s conscience is in order or not. At first sight in the room one cannot tell who is holy and who is a sinner, who is pure and who is impure. Obviously the Gospel does not want to erase each person’s responsibility. We are all invited to compare ourselves by our love for the Lord, for the poor and for our brothers and sisters. The king, who reads our hearts, sees whether we do or don’t have on the “wedding robe,” that is, the robe of mercy, a robe we all should wear, remembering that mercy covers a great number of sins. The absence of love and mercy makes life a hell here and now. On the contrary, love and mercy open the doors of heaven already here and now on this earth.

Memory of the Church