Gospel Reflection for the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

R.S.V.P – Attire: A Pure Heart for God (from my book ‘A Shepherd’s Voice’, 2007)

It has been said that there are three significant moments in the spiritual life of Christians. The first moment is God‘s invitation to friendship with Him. God always takes the initiative to draw us to be close to Him. Because of His unconditional love for us, He always makes the first move for us to be united to Him. The second moment is our response to His invitation. From His initiative, we respond in love. Our response is only an effect of His gracious love which He showers upon each of us in our lives. We are never forced to go to Him; but because of God‘s overflowing goodness and love, we deeply yearn to be with Him. The third moment is when we begin to form a vision and lifestyle in line with our commitment to God which is seen when we witness to the values of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In this moment, we become authentic, living witnesses of the Good News. Our lives mirror the words and deeds of Jesus. These three moments may shed light into the message of our gospel parable.

The spiritual lesson of the parable of the wedding banquet is clear: God constantly and lovingly invites us to His kingdom; it is up to us whether or not we accept this invitation to be with Him. Like the invited guests to the wedding, some of us refuse to go to God. Others are indifferent to His love. And there are those preoccupied with their business affairs, no longer making God their priority. Let us also look at the one who attended the wedding improperly dressed. A number of us want to be with God but are not seriously disposed to follow Him, being half-hearted in our response of love. We are all invited guests in God‘s eternal banquet. Will we take God‘s invitation seriously?

I have received many wedding invitations in my life. When one receives an invitation for a wedding, one notices two particular items written on the invitation aside from the specific details of the celebration. The first item is the term R.S.V.P. which comes from the French expression “répondez s’il vous plaît”, meaning “please respond”. This means that the invited guest must inform the host whether or not he plans to attend the party. This is necessary because the host needs a definite head count for the planned event, and needs it by the date specified on the invitation. The second item is the word Attire. It indicates what the guest should wear at the party. Usually, depending on the nature of the event, some invitations would simply state: ‘appropriate dress required.’But there are cards that specifically put one of the following: formal, semi-formal or casual.

How will we make our R.S.V.P.? As always, God yearns for our positive response to come to Him. Will we be counted in His list of expected guests? If we do go, we should wear the appropriate attire: a pure heart for Him. We should wholeheartedly join His eternal celebration. After all, isn‘t this what we ultimately want in our lives?

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