Pope Francis is noting that God’s invitation can find a surprising response in many hearts, even as it’s rejected by those called first.
The Pope said this today in his address prior to praying the midday Angelus, as he reflected with those in St. Peter’s Square on the Gospel reading of the day.
Referring to the story of the king who’s invitation to the wedding banquet is rejected, the Holy Father said, “There are many who are invited, but something surprising happens. None of those chosen decides to go to the celebration. They have other things to do. Moreover, some show indifference and even annoyance.
“God is good to us. He freely offers us his friendship. He offers his joy, salvation. But so often we don’t welcome his gifts. We put our material preoccupations, our own interests, in first place.”
In the face of rejection, the king sends his servants to collect anyone they can find for the celebration.
These are the “common people, the poor, the abandoned, the disinherited, even ‘good ones and bad ones.’ Even the evil are invited, without distinction,” the Pope said. “And the banquet hall is filled with these ‘excluded ones.’ The Gospel, rejected by some, finds a surprising welcome in so many hearts.”
Francis said the story urges us to recall that “the goodness of God does not have limits and does not discriminate against anyone” and there’s no justification for feeling privileged.
“All of this moves us to overcome the habit of placing ourselves comfortably at the center,” he said.
Instead, the Pontiff invited, “We have to open ourselves to the peripheries, recognizing as well that the one at the margins, even the one rejected and despised by society, is the object of God’s generosity.”
He said any temptation to reduce the Kingdom of God to the limits of our own “little church” has to be avoided. Rather, we must “expand the Church to the dimensions of the Kingdom of God.”
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