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INVITATION AND INDIFFERENCE

“I” is a one-letter word. It can refer to me, and when you use it yourself, it can refer to you. For this Sunday, I invite you to remember three Ps. The first I for this Sunday is invite. The Lord invites. In case you do not appreciate it yet, it is so special that God invites because among all the religions of the world, it is men and women who are always looking for God. But in Christianity, it is God who looks for us. In Christianity, we do not have to look for God very long and very hard. In Christianity it is God who looks out for the lost sheep. It is God who looks out for the lost coin. It is God who invites; it is God who makes the first step.

Not so with other religions. In natural religions, they waste the blood of chickens, goats, sheep, and lamb, in order to please a god. In our case, it is God Himself who offers His Blood. It is God Himself who invites. Yet, we take it for granted so easily. We take it for granted that we can have Mass every Sunday without any trouble.

Recently, a Vietnamese cardinal, Cardinal Van Thuan, died in Rome. He was imprisoned by the Communists for fifteen years, in solitary confinement. He could not even count the days and the nights because there was no sunlight entering his cell. The jail guards would just slip plates of food into his cell and a container for his human waste. He lived in that cell for fifteen years. He said, “You can imagine how happy I was when one day, the guard opened the cell door and a fly entered my cell. For the first time in my prison life, I had a living creature with me. I made friends with that fly for as long as I could, in order to keep my sanity.” He was given bread and wine as part of his daily meal. Because of the lack of food, he consumed all the bread but saved a morsel each day. He saved some of the wine that was given to him and because he had no chalice, he just put the wine on his right palm and the bread on his left palm. With both his palms as receptacles, he celebrated the Eucharist for fifteen years. This did not happen in the 1950s. This happened only around five years ago, in modern times. God invites and we take it for granted.

The second I for today, according to the Gospel, is indifference. The opposite or the enemy of the best is not the worst. The enemy is being satisfied with what is good. Those who were invited were not criminals. They did not do anything wrong. What is wrong with feeding your cattle? What is wrong with working in your farm? What is wrong with conducting your business? Yet they were indifferent. They ignored the Lord. They diminished the value of the invitation. Imagine God Himself inviting us and then we have the guts, we have the nerve to say to God, “No, I have other things to do.” How can we be too busy for an invitation like that? How can we have concerns, more pressing than the concern of accommodating the invitation of God Himself? That is the second I, indifference.

The third I is inappropriate. Inappropriate dress. There were some who accepted the invitation but they were not properly dressed. There were some who accepted the invitation but they were not properly disposed. There were some who accepted the invitation but they were inappropriate in their presence. It is the same with us. God invites, and we come in different attires. My concern is not so much how we dress in the church. My concern is more on how we are in the church – our inner disposition. How are we in the banquet of the Lord? How are we at the table of the Lord? Are our hearts appropriately dressed? Are our spirits appropriately prepared for that beautiful banquet that God prepares for us?

Three I’s to reflect on today. The invitation of God – so good, so gracious, so accommodating. The indifference of men and women, which continues up to this day. We are busy with the lesser things. We are busy with lesser business. We are busy with the lesser gods of our times. Finally, the third I – inappropriate. We might be here but are we properly disposed? We might be here but are we thinking of God, or are we thinking of where to eat after Mass, or where we parked our car? Are we thinking that we forgot to turn off the faucet, or forgot to lock the door?

God is here and you are here because you are invited. This Mass is by invitation. Remember how great is the invitation and how lucky, how fortunate, how blessed you are. Let us not take that for granted.

INVITATION AND INDIFFERENCE
Mt. 22:1-14
Love Like Jesus

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