SUNDAY 15th October 2017, 28th Sunday Ordinary Time
• Isaiah 25:6-10a • Psalm 23 •
• Philippians 4:12-14, 19-20 • Matthew 22:1-14 •
Title: “Dress Code”
[__01__] / [__02__] In 2008, I arrived at the Cathedral in Newark for a Mass during Holy Week known as the Chrism Mass. It is a celebration similar to our own Holy Thursday Mass, in which the priests of the Archdiocese of Newark renew their vows of ordination, the vows of priesthood. There are usually 700 deacons and priests present, 700 deacons and priests and together with the Archbishop of Newark.
And, similar to every Catholic Mass, there are the expected vestments for the deacons and priests. However, because there are 700-plus, we are expected to bring our own vestments. On that particular day, I brought my vestments, but forgot, neglected to bring one particular item – the stole (stola) that is worn around the neck. This was noticeable to several others.
Monsignor Joe Petrillo and I reconnected on the sidewalk outside the cathedral before the Mass started. He greeted me warmly and asked matter-of-factly, where is your stole? He was not stunned, only smiling.
I was asked this question at least 15-20 times that evening. The answer was that it was in this sacristy here in West Orange. I was in Newark at the time and I was not in full compliance with the dress code.
[__03__] In the parable this Sunday, we read about the planning, the invitations, the seating arrangements, catering and finally the dress code … of a large wedding feast.
A king has decided to celebrate the wedding of his son. He has printed out, engraved the invitations. The parable, however, is not an allegory about the consequences of violating the dress code.
This would appear to the message of the parable.
It seems that if you are not properly dressed – in proper attire -- you are removed from the church, from the Wilshire Grand – Mayfair – The Manor – or the cathedral or wherever your wedding is.
However, in this case, the garment does not represent a code of dress, or a coat of arms, but rather a code of behavior and a connection to good works.
That is, you and I are called to be clothed in good works. This is not a garment we can purchase, but it is something that we invest in each day.
[__04__] For example. An example of people – or a person – taking notice.
Several years ago, I took over the repair, maintenance and responsibility for my father’s car. He got a new car and allowed me to use his car… as long as I could keep it on the road and repaired.
As the owner, I continued to take the vehicle to the same mechanic where my father took the car. Every time I took the car there, the mechanic would ask me about my father. And, he would tell me how fond he was of my father. I had no objection, but I also had no prior knowledge that my father had made such a positive impression. I also thought to myself: “You only see my father once every 3,000 miles … a few times a year. ”
In some way, my father had been consistently kind, friendly, although I also know that every repair of this car was particular troublesome and occasionally expensive.
Nevertheless, my father’s kindness – every 3,000 miles – was remembered very well.
[__05__] I use this as an example of how we are called to manifest – demonstrate – and be clear in our loving actions, deeds towards others.
Yes, we are called not only to be good – internally – but also to be present – to make a gift of our goodness each day, externally, visibly towards others that others can see.
[__06__] The person is removed from the wedding because he has not made this clear, made this visible in his life.