October 15, 2020
by Director of Mission, Mr Geoff Brodie
In his Angelus address this week Pope Francis declared that “No one is excluded from the house of God”. He was commenting on the Parable of the Wedding Banquet (cf. Mt 22:1-14) which was our Gospel last Sunday. In the parable, the king prepares a marriage feast for his son, but none of the invited guests can be bothered to come, all claiming that they are too busy with their own affairs. So, the king sends his servants to the crossroads and thoroughfares to invite all to the joy of the feast. Pope Francis continues
Thus the banquet hall is filled with the “excluded”, those who are “outside” those who never seemed worthy to partake in a feast, in a wedding banquet. In fact, the master, the king, tells the messengers: “Call everyone, both good and bad. Everyone!”… Even those on the margins, even those who are rejected and scorned by society, are considered by God to be worthy of his love. He prepares his banquet for everyone: the just and sinners, good and bad, intelligent and uneducated.
This is not a surprising image for those who know God is love. But that is not the end of the parable, as Pope Francis explains…
However, the Lord places one condition: to wear a wedding garment. Let us return to the parable. When the hall is full, the king arrives and greets the latest guests, but he sees one of them without a wedding garment, that kind of little cape that each guest would receive as a gift at the entrance. The people went as they were dressed, as they were able to be dressed; they were not wearing gala attire. But at the entrance, they were given a type of capelet, a gift. That man, having rejected the free gift, excluded himself: the king could do nothing but throw him out. This man accepted the invitation but then decided that it meant nothing to him: he was a self-sufficient person; he had no desire to change or to allow the Lord to change him. The wedding garment – this capelet – symbolizes the mercy that God freely gives us, namely, grace. Without grace, we cannot take a step forward in Christian life. Everything is grace. It is not enough to accept the invitation to follow the Lord; one must be open to a journey of conversion, which changes the heart. The garment of mercy, which God offers us unceasingly, is the free gift of his love; it is precisely grace. And it demands to be welcomed with astonishment and joy: “Thank you, Lord, for having given me this gift”.
The College shares in the EREA Touchstone of Inclusive Community: Our community is accepting and welcoming, fostering right relationships and committed to the common good. How do we understand Inclusive Community in the light of this Gospel of Jesus? What are the “wedding garments” that we are invited to wear at SPC that proclaims to everyone our gratitude for the being a part of God’s community, gratitude for sharing in the gifts of an SPC education? Perhaps these garments include the small things: wearing the uniform with pride, treating each other with love and respect, seeking to use our abilities to their full capacity.
May I suggest we follow St Paul, and put on Jesus Christ (see Rom 13:14), the wedding garment of God, who has shown us the way to accept eternal friendship with God, the way to eternal life, and the fulfilment of the deepest desires of the heart. That is an education worthy of our young men.