Was there a good point made in the sermon you heard during your Mass for your Sunday obligation?
Let us know.
For my part – on this 19th Sunday after Pentecost -taking my cue from the Epistle and from the Lord’s parable about the king’s wedding banquet I spoke about the gift garment. Paul tells us to put on the “new man”. Our Lord describes how the king who gives the banquet has the man without the wedding garment bound hand and foot and then has him thrown outside to weep and grind his teeth in the darkness of night.
A bit of an over reaction on the king’s part, no? Why the stern punishment?
As per ancient Eastern custom, kings clothed guests in beautiful gift garments as they entered in order to honor them and to make the occasion more beautiful and decorous. The man without the garment had no excuse: he was given a garment and he refused to put on the king’s gift, thus insulting the king, the other guests, and the occasion itself. That’s what we do when we sin and are “bad Catholics”, we dishonor God and other members of the Church.
We are in the banquet on the KING’s terms, not on our terms. We are in the Church on the Church’s terms, not on our terms.
The Lord puts the new man on us in baptism and the other sacraments. He gives us the garment. We must keep it in good order. But the garment is invisible and inward as well as visible and outward. We have our baptismal character which is invisible, but outwardly our words and deeds reveal that we are clothed in the gift. Our behavior can honor God and others. Our behavior can harm others. Our behavior can make it easier for others to sin or to be holy. When we dishonor our gift garment in sin, we are bound and blind, frightened and angry in sin. That state is only a prelude to the paralyzing terror and fury of the eternal outside which is Hell. We can choose instead to keep the gift garment in good order and be filled with the light of the feast, in the company of the saints and angels, in the good pleasure of the King who wants to honor us and make us more like Him in splendor.
We can lose what has been given to us. We can lose the banquet of heaven by neglect of our gift garment, which insults the Giver. Remember: The king put the man out of the banquet and into Hell. The Lord wants us inside but He won’t force us. We are called, but we might not be chosen. Many are not.
Concretely, I also told the altar boys about how the first line of the Epistle, about putting on the new man, is the prayer we say when we put on our surplice to serve at the altar. We have to keep it in good order. We have to be squared away at the altar, where we give honor to the King’s table in the sight of all the other guests.
Also, concretely, I underscored for the congregation Paul’s admonition not to let the sun set on anger, to make amends, not to provoke to anger, which is a foretaste of being bound in the outer darkness.
In any event, for those of who who serve Holy Mass or who train altar boys, it is fitting to be recollected when putting on vestments. Use these prayers:
Da, Domine, virtutem manibus meis ad abstergendam omnem maculam ut sine pollutione mentis et corporis valeam tibi servire.
Give virtue to my hands, O Lord, that being cleansed from all stain I might serve you with purity of mind and body.’
For the Cassock:
Dominus, pars haereditatis meae, et calicis mei: tu es, qui restitues hereditatem meam mihi.
O Lord, the portion of my inheritance, and my chalice: You are He who will restore my inheritance to me.
For the Surplice:
Indue me, Domine, novum hominem, qui secundum Deum creatus est in iustitia et sanctitate veritatis. Amen.
Invest me, O Lord, as a new man, who was created by God in justice and the holiness of truth. Amen.