28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Oct 17, 2017
An elderly woman had been a very active and faithful member of her parish for many years. Knowing that she was not going to live much longer, she asked her pastor if they might talk about her funeral. He came to her home and over tea, they talked about the readings and music and other details of the service. As the pastor was about to leave, the woman said, "I have one more request, Father, and it is a bit unusual." "What is it, Martha?" , the Pastor asked. "Well, when they dress me up in the casket, I want my rosary in one hand and a fork in the other!" "I'm sorry," the Pastor stammered, caught by surprise. "You want to be buried with a fork?" "Yes, you see, I have been thinking about all the church dinners and banquets I have attended throughout all my years. I could not begin to county them all. But one thing does stick out in my mind. At all of those wonderful suppers when the meal was almost finished, a server or hostess would come to the table to collect all the dirty dishes. And at the best dinners, they would say, "keep your fork." That, of course, meant dessert was coming! And not just any dessert--Not just jello or ice cream...you do not need a fork for that....but the REALLY GOOD stuff-like chocolate cake or homemade pie.
When they would tell me to keep my fork, I knew the best was yet to come! That is exactly what I want people to talk about at my funeral. Oh, they can talk about our good times together and such; but, when they see me in the casket with my beautiful blue dress, I want them to turn to one another and ask, "why the fork?" That is when I want you to tell them, Father, that I kept my fork because the best is yet to come!
That was a cute story, but I think it helps in the understanding of the Gospel today. Now, what I am about to say may not be easy to hear, but it still needs to be said. At the end of today's Gospel, we may be thinking that the King was too hard on the man not properly dressed for the banquet. Yet, the lack of proper dress for the man was more of an indication that he did not have the right disposition or attitude to be at the banquet. Today, I think you would agree with me that there is a growing lack of respect that seems to be infecting just about everything, But today, I want you to consider one of these areas. And that area is the way we dress affects the way we think.
People dress up for parties, for weddings, for funerals, for job interviews, and for family pictures. Yet, many come to the Banquet of all Banquets-the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass-like is was more of an after-thought or nothing but a stop on the way to the park or soccer field. Folks, when we do not wear proper attire to Holy Mass, you are saying volumes to Almighty God. You are sending a message to others that the Holy Mass is no something you value it is not important enough to dress properly to attend. It looks as though the gift of redemption does not mean that much in your life.
If anyone deserves respect, it is the Lord of Lords-the King of Kings! At each and every Holy Mass you and I are once again present at Calvary. Now, it is different if one does not have the means to dress nicely for Mass. The poorest parishes in our Archdiocese would put many parishes to shame if you could see how well they dress for church on Sunday mornings. When it comes to respecting God, there really is not excuse for the way that many Catholics dress for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, When we dress so casually for Mass, we often will follow suit by thinking and praying casually.
Even when others do not dress properly-you should! When I was a teenager, I would find myself wearing jeans to Mass. Everyone did it and it was cool at the time. As I studied our Catholic Faith more and more and realized just what the Holy Mass was, I realized that how I dressed was affecting how I thought and prayed, I began to wear dress clothes and hold more respect for where I was and what I was celebrating.
We want to be in the right disposition when we attend Mass. As we pray at the foot of the Holy Cross of Calvary, we must realize that none of us would have ever wanted to be seen as showing a lack of respect for Christ as He suffered and died on Calvary for our sins. It happens so frequently in today's society, There is a growing disrespect for everything, including God.
Please remember that the way we dress affects the way we think and at Mass in the way we pray.
Anything important to us, we dress properly for, don't we? If anyplace deserves respect, it is attending the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Please consider this, do not dress to please me, dress to please Our Lord Jesus Christ Whose Banquet we have been blessed to be invited to and to attend. Waiting with a fork in hand for eternal life, the best yet to me like Martha!
People dress up for parties, for weddings, for funerals, for job interviews, and for family pictures. Yet, many come to the Banquet of all Banquets-the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass-like is was more of an after-thought, or nothing but a stop before the park or soccer field. Folks, if we do not wear proper attire for the Holy Mass, we are saying volumes to not only Almighty God but perhaps volumes to others that the Holy Mass is not all that important. It may look as if the gift of redemption does not mean that much in your life.