“Anew heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you.”
A reading from the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 36:23-28)
Thus says the Lord: “I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them; and the nations will know that I am the Lord, says the Lord GOD, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. For I will take you from the nations, and gather you from all the countries, and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances. You shall dwell in the land which I gave to your fathers; and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 51 : 12-13.14- I 5.18-19 (R. Ezekiel 36:25)
R/. I will sprinkle clean water on you,
and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses.
Create a pure heart for me, O God;
renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence;
take not your holy spirit from me. R.
Restore in me the joy of your salvation;
sustain in me a willing spirit.
I will teach transgressors your ways,
that sinners may return to you. R.
For in sacrifice you take no delight;
burnt offering from me would not please you.
My sacrifice to God, a broken spirit:
a broken and humbled heart, O God,
you will not spurn. R.
ALLELUIA Psalm 95:7d.8a
Alleluia. Today, harden not your hearts, but listen to the voice of the Lord. Alleluia.
“Invite to the marriage feast as many as you find. ”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 22: 1-14)
At that time: Again Jesus spoke to the chief priests and the elders of the people in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a marriage feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the marriage feast; but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, Behold, I have made ready my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves are killed, and everything is ready; come to the marriage feast.’ But they made light of it and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burnt their city. “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the streets, and invite to the marriage feast as many as you find.’ And those servants went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good; so the wedding hall was filled with guests. “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment; and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and quashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
In today’s Gospel, God’s invitation to us is depicted as a royal wedding feast. There is no reason why anyone would not honour an invitation that was presented in so many attractive ways! The dinner was set and the king was determined to have them all come. This story is about people who were admitted to the party only by grace and not by merit. God has gathered us from different places with all of our infirmities and has brought us into his rich place. Only his invitation qualified us. So, we should present ourselves before him with the wedding garment, that is, with the new heart and the new spirit which he has given us.