20 Week, Thursday August 20

Thursday August 20

Thursday of 20th Week of Ordinary Time


Israel had profaned God’s name among the nations, making it look weak when he had to send Israel into exile. Now Ezekiel consoles them when they are in exile. He will again restore his people, giving them a new heart and a new spirit.

All are invited to the kingdom of God, even repeatedly, the good and the bad alike. Salvation is open to all. But they should be willing, they must respond to the call. And once they respond, they should be consistent. They must share in the death struggle of Christ against evil, to live with the life of Christ. The force to live the Christ life is indeed given to us in the Eucharistic meal. There the Lord prepares us for the royal marriage feast.

Opening Prayer
Merciful Father of all people,
you open the doors of your kingdom
to invite us all, good and bad alike,
to share the life of Jesus, your Son.
Give us the wisdom and the strength
to respond to your generous call
with the whole of our being.
Help us to go the loyal way
to you and to one another
of Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord,
who lives with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Faith ultimately is a matter of the heart, not simply feast days and rituals. Like Jeremiah, Ezekiel speaks of a new era wherein the Lord will renew the religious spirit within us. The law will not be written on stone tablets but on the flesh of the human heart. Cleansed of our impurities, we will respond to God from inner conviction and with a true sense of personal purpose. Religion, to be authentic, must go beyond externals and emanate from the very core of our being.
Many of the people in today’s parable saw the wedding invitation as simply another calendar event, not a divine calling to be taken with the utmost seriousness. While not as guilty as those who refused, the improperly clothed guest lacks a true appreciation of what God is offering. The lesson should strike us as being particularly meaningful.
The fact that we are identified as Christian or Catholic says very litde in and of itself. But we all know what it means to take faith seriously. We have met it in people many times. The kind word, availability, service to others, as well as love of the Eucharist.
With these values in place, we are properly dressed for the wedding. We will never be embarrassed by being improperly clothed. We have received that new Spirit within us, the first gift of the risen Christ.

Points to Ponder
Religious faith: stone tablets or a new heart
Excuses: God’s interests will come later
The wedding feast: being properly attired

– That the Lord may gather all peoples in one common praise of his name, we pray:
– That the lives of all Christians may radiate joy and hope and bring a feast of happiness to others, we pray:
– That the communities without priests, isolated and abandoned as they often feel, may receive the word of the Lord as their food and occasionally also the Lord’s body, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts
Lord our God,
in these signs of bread and wine
you invite us now to the table
of your Son Jesus Christ,
as a token and pledge
of your unending feast meal in heaven.
Give us the strength to respond to your call,
that we may become new in Christ
and live his life day after day,
until you let us share in his glory
for ever and ever.

Prayer after Communion
Loving Father,
we thank you for giving us your Son
as our food and drink
on the long road to you.
Through this Eucharist
make us resemble him more and more,
that we may respect and love him
in one another,
that we may be his image to the world,
and that you may recognize his traits in us
when you welcome us
to the everlasting feast of joy.
Grant us this through Christ our Lord.

All are invited to the Lord’s feast meal, but not all come. Are some absent because we do not make them feel welcome? Let us do all we can to make people feel at home with us. May God bless you all, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.