I am in trouble, big trouble! I let God down, even more I have let God down by keeping someone from being chosen. Today’s gospel relates to us Jesus’ powerful parable in which we can see he is really talking about the heavenly banquet. Towards the end of the reading we hear this ominous passage: “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment; and he said to him, `Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ But he was reduced to silence. Then the king said to the attendants, `Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”
As I was listening to these words this morning, at the shrine of Our Lady of Good Help – where 150 years ago our blessed Mother Mary told Sister Adele to ‘Teach my children’ it struck me that I am the cause of that man not being dressed as he should. When I heard “But he was reduced to silence.” it dawned on me that the man didn’t have an answer as to why he wasn’t dressed appropriately – he wasn’t taught properly; he hadn’t been given an example of how he was to live. I failed in being the witness that we are all called to be at every baptism, whether we are there or not.
At every baptism we hear the following words directed to the newly baptized:“… you have become a new creation, and have clothed yourself in Christ. See in this white garment the outward sign of your Christian dignity. With your family and friends to help you by word and example, bring that dignity unstained into the everlasting life of heaven.” And we all reply ‘Amen’. These words are spoken to the newly baptized but they are also a commandment from God to each of us – we are to show this child of God how to keep this garment unstained.
So, as I sat there licking my wounds and listening to Bishop Ricken of Green Bay reinforce my failure; as he related self-satisfied Catholics to those initially invited to the wedding feast – I thought of how hard it is to witness and wondered what could I do to change my failure of inaction into Christian action. It was then I heard this Bishop modify a popular western U.S. phrase used when you want to tell a person to suck it up and be a man: “Cowboy Up!” the bishop said followed quickly by his modification “Disciple Up!” Indeed, disciple up; be the person Jesus expects all His followers to be. Be the christian God expects every newly baptized person to have in their life to help with their white garment of Christian dignity – to make sure they are properly dressed at the wedding feast.
Well is seems I have a choice; I either need to stop going to Marian apparition sites or ‘disciple up!’ And after the many baptisms I have done on those innocent children the choice is already made – and I will reflect on it the next time I go to Our Lady of Good Help.