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Dear Parish Family,

Over the course of this Message Series, we have tried to focus on Home Life, not only our residences (After all, home is where you hang your hat!) but also our spiritual home, (our parish) and our eternal home (God-willing in the mansions of the Saints in

heaven)! As we have tried to flesh out the ingredients for a fruitful and peaceful home life, we recognize that those same ingredients prepare our hearts for our final abode in Heaven.

Today we focus on our permanent dwelling place. During this time of illness and loss, it is ever more apparent that earth is not our permanent home. “On this mountain he will destroy the veil that veils all peoples, the web that is woven over all nations; he will destroy death forever,” sings the prophet Isaiah. The veil that shields our eyes from the greater hidden realities, will be lifted; tears wiped away. From the mount of Calvary, where our sweet Jesus offers himself to destroy the plague of death that afflicts humanity, the gates of paradise are once again opened to those washed in the blood and water that flows from his pierced side.

During these past six months or so, we have lost many friends and loved ones. We have a great gift and opportunity to send them HOME with our prayers and sacrificial offerings. I would encourage two things. First, seek to participate in our Novena of Masses for the Dead from November 2nd (All Souls to Day) to November 12th. Moreover, decide during those days to make some small sacrifice to “turbocharge” our prayers. Second, for those whose memorial masses are on hold until “things return to normal,” please, honor the dead by giving them our most powerful prayer, the holy Mass, offered for the salvation of their souls. Let’s pray for our parish family members together by offering the Church’s sacred prayer, and speeding them along to the gates of paradise.

The Gospel this week (Mt 22:1-14) depicts one of the richest prefigurations of the glories of Heaven. A wedding feast was one of the most opulent, sumptuous, and elaborate celebrations in the life of the community, especially for the king. Yet the invited guests ignore the invitation; some even beat or kill the servants announcing the good news (in a repeat of last week.) After punishing the miscreants, the king invites all the commoners, the plebes, to attend the feast. Throw open the doors, it is party time!

And yet there is a requirement. Although all are invited from the highways and byways, one cannot appear clothed in any sort of way. The well-known wedding garment: a symbol of the spiritual life, of the sacrament of baptism, of virtue, of being cleansed and ready for such a beautiful feast. Despite the invitation to anyone, a proper garment is necessary. This outward finery reflects a genuine desire to treat the beautiful feast with deserving respect and honor. It is a reminder to wear our “Sunday best” to Mass.

But more importantly, the garment reminds us of deeper interior preparation, the preparation of our hearts, for weekly Mass, for daily prayer, for communion with our Lord. Regular sharing with God in prayer is a foreshadowing of the eternal feast, the wedding feast of the Lamb once slain Who lives forever! We arrive at the other side with none of the trappings of this world. We take nothing of our outward finery, but only the virtue, grace and love that clothes our soul. Our adornment is the goodness we have participated in and how it has transformed us into the likeness of the Son of God. Our Father recognizes his Son in us, sees that we are adopted sons and daughters. That process begins with the Sacrament of Baptism and grows and blossoms in us by the way we make good use of the graces God showers down upon us.

One of the funeral prayers reads like this: “May she/he arrive with garment unstained into the mansions of the Saints!” Truly a life full of prayer, virtue and love is the best preparation we can make for the invitation to participate in the never-ending feast of Heaven, our eternal Home. Let us help one another on the journey by encouraging one another to live lives full of the goodness of God!

Yours in Christ the Bridegroom,
Fr. Wilson

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