There is “always an apology,” the pope said, referring to today’s Gospel, which recounts the story of the would-be wedding guests refusing the master’s invitation. “They apologize,” Francis explained. “Apologizing is the polite word we use in order not to say, ‘I refuse.’”
And with this, Pope Francis asked us to consider how many times we’ve rejected the Holy Spirit’s inspirations.
This refusal makes us think of ourselves, of the times that Jesus calls us; calls us to celebrate with Him, to be close to Him, to change our life. Think about Him seeking out His most intimate friends and they refuse! Then He seeks out the sick… and they go; perhaps some refuse. How many times do we hear the call of Jesus to come to Him, to do a work of charity, to pray, to encounter Him, and we say: “Excuse me Lord, I’m busy, I don’t have time. Yes, tomorrow; [today] I can’t…” And Jesus remains there.
Pope Francis asked us to reflect on how often we, too, ask Jesus to excuse us when “He calls us to meet Him, to speak with Him, to have a nice chat.”
“We, too, refuse Him,” the pope said:
Each one of us should think: In my life, how many times have I felt the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to do a work of charity, to encounter Jesus in that work of charity, to go to pray, to change your life in this area, in this area that is not going well? And I have always found a reason to excuse myself, to refuse.
The Holy Father had a warning for those who think to themselves, “Jesus is so good, in the end He forgives everything”:
Yes, He is good, He is merciful – He is merciful, but He is also just. And if you close the door of your heart from within, He cannot open it, because He is very respectful of our heart. Refusing Jesus is closing the door from within, and He cannot enter.
What’s so wrong about sin anyway?
Francis reflected on one final point from the Gospel: It is Jesus Himself who pays for the feast, he said.
In the First Reading, St. Paul reveals the cost of the banquet, speaking of Jesus, who “emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, humbling Himself to the point of dying on the Cross.”
Jesus, the pope said, “paid for the feast with His life.”
“And I say, ‘I cannot …’” Pope Francis concluded. “May the Lord grant us the grace to understand this mystery of hardness of heart, of obstinacy, of rejection, and [grant us] the grace to weep.”
Not tomorrow, but right now: A procrastinator’s prayer to the Holy Spirit