MEMORIAL OF ST. BERNARD, ABBOT AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH, AUG 20, 2020


MASS READINGS:


A Gospel according to Matthew 22:1-14


Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and the elders of the people in parables saying, 

The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king

who gave a wedding feast for his son.

He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast,

but they refused to come.

A second time he sent other servants, saying,

‘Tell those invited: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet,

my calves and fattened cattle are killed,

and everything is ready; come to the feast.”’

Some ignored the invitation and went away,

one to his farm, another to his business.

The rest laid hold of his servants,

mistreated them, and killed them.

The king was enraged and sent his troops,

destroyed those murderers, and burned their city.

Then the king said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready,

but those who were invited were not worthy to come.

Go out, therefore, into the main roads

and invite to the feast whomever you find.’

The servants went out into the streets

and gathered all they found, bad and good alike,

and the hall was filled with guests.

But when the king came in to meet the guests

he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment.

He said to him, ‘My friend, how is it

that you came in here without a wedding garment?’

But he was reduced to silence.

Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet,

and cast him into the darkness outside,

where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’

Many are invited, but few are chosen.”


REFLECTION: "The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son.

He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come"


In these times of global pandemic, we think twice about everything we do, specially when we need to leave our homes.


Many of us, in different cities and countries, are fortunate enough, with the proper sanitary precautions, to attend Mass in person, and many times, on a daily basis.


The banquet of the Lord is there, every day for us to join Him.


At the beginning of the pandemic, I remember some parishes, upon realizing they could only have 25% capacity took several approaches to the problem. Some had overflow Masses. They would have several Masses around different points of the campus so they could abide with safety regulations. Some other parishes resorted to doing attendance raffles. Others made you RSVP a day or so before.


However, those with overflow Masses did not receive the attendance they expected. The people that had "won" a seat from the raffle, and those who had RSVP'd were not showing up for Mass.


Fearing for your life in times of uncertainty is a hard truth. Six months into the pandemic, and we are still not used to it; much less at the beginning, when we really did not know anything about it.


What saddens me is the fact that our priests have gone above and beyond, so we can attend Mass, even if it is in virtual form. And how many people just take the dispensation from the weekly Mass obligation as an excuse to forego any and all spiritual life.


Pretty much there is no parish in the world that does not stream via social media their Masses. Masses are also transmitted not only via Catholic TV channels, but even regular channels would broadcast them at least once weekly on Sundays for all to participate..


And still...


I know of some seemingly "good", "solid", "catholic" families that don't attend Mass physically because of concerns about the virus. They do not stream or watch a broadcast of the Mass because " it is not the same". Yet they have gatherings with friends, go to restaurants, etc.


We really live in a time and age that we have run out of excuses for not doing the right thing , even not learning about God. We really need to use our spare time during the pandemic.


Our priests have sacrificed so much for us. Many left their cities or countries to be here with us; studied many years to become priests. They even had to learn a new language so they could communicate with us. They may even die away from their loved ones.


God is a gentleman, and He will not impose His will on us. But He will know what we did, and how we treated the gifts He bestowed on us, including the gift of the priesthood, the Holy Eucharist, and all the Sacraments.


Pray for our priests. And pray for the families that have stopped growing in their interior life; for those who have stopped practicing their faith altogether. Pray for their children, specially any future priests that are learning from the example of their parents.

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