The following is a shortened, Reader's Digest version of my homily for October 9, the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time.
After reading the Gospel from this Sunday, I recalled a humorous diatribe of one of my favorite sitcom characters, Sheldon Cooper, from The Big Bang Theory. He gives a very interesting, albeit cynical, explanation of the human practice of gift giving (to see the video below, you may have to go to this link here).
The type of gift giving that Sheldon describes above is very human, very utilitarian. It lacks any sort of meaning, and yet that is so often how we approach giving...as a reciprocal act from which no one actually benefits.
God, on the other hand, is complete. He has no need of anything that we can give Him. And so He gives without the expectation of reciprocity, not unlike the King in today's Gospel, who throws a lavish wedding feast for his son. But what happens? When the invited guests refuse to show up (usually because they have better things to do), the King punishes the wicked guests and invites others--anyone and everyone! This is because the King isn't nearly as concerned with who exactly comes, just so long as they are receptive of the gift that he offers!
But what happens when he finds someone not in a wedding garment? He casts him out into the darkness! This doesn't seem like the act of an all-loving, all-merciful God. And yet, there is most assuredly a reason for this.
The gift which God gives us is the Faith of the Church...the Word of God, the Sacraments, the whole she-bang! And he offers this gift gratuitously to all of humanity. Yet, we know very well that not all of humanity accepts this gift of Faith.
For those of us who squander the gift of Faith, effectively refusing the invitation, we see what the King shall do to us... After all, "many are called, but few are chosen."
Similarly, what happens to the guest who attends the banquet without a wedding garment? This lack of preparation has, for us, many meanings. At its essence, though, the meaning is quite simple: we must be spiritually prepared to receive that gift. The gift of God is not something casual, but requires our most sincere and fervent spiritual preparation. This white wedding garment, then, is the soul of the Christian, washed clean by the blood of the Lamb, but continuously stained through our own transgressions. Through Sacramental Confession, prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and good works, we ensure that on the day that we are called to share in the great wedding feast of Heaven, our wedding garment is clean, thus permitting us entry to the Feast.
We know that God gives all good things to His children. But we also know from today's Gospel that "many are called, but few are chosen." May we be given the strength and courage to do that which is necessary to ensure that we are prepared to enter into the wedding feast of the Lamb when we are called, that our white wedding garment is cleansed from all stain, and that we are spiritually ready to come to the Feast!