Thursday, August 23, 2007

Love's Invitation

~from Fr. Mark's meditation on today's Gospel.
The Holy Gospel makes it clear that the kingdom of heaven is not about our own projects, initiatives and deeds, but rather about the initiative of God freely determined in his infinite wisdom, and freely offered in his infinite love. Only those who fail to respond to his invitation are deemed unworthy of the marriage feast. Those who respond to the call of grace are clothed in grace, while those who steal into the wedding hall on their own initiative are cast into the outer darkness. The holy and life-giving Mysteries are never taken, as if by personal initiative; they are always received in response to the invitation of Love freely given. The poet George Herbert said just this: Love bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back, Guilty of dust and sin . . . . You must sit down, says Love, ‘and taste my meat.’ So I did sit and eat.

The Banquet of the Lamb
In the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Love bids us welcome. Every proclamation of the Word of God is an invitation to the marriage feast; all who hear the Word of God and treasure it are clothed in grace, made ready for the banquet by the free gift of the King himself. As the royal nuptial psalm puts it, “All glorious is the princess within, gold embroidery is her clothing; in many coloured robes she is led to the king” (Ps 45:13-14). So too, are we led to the King. The banquet of the Eucharist points to another banquet, a heavenly one and, already here and now, fills our mouths with the taste of it. Blessed are those called to the banquet of the Lamb.
Listen to David Hurd's Love Bade Me Welcome

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