Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen


(Green) Cycle A/Year I (October 15, 2017)
Is 25:6-10/Phil 4:12-14, 19-20/Mt 22:1-14

One of the famous religious maxims is this: “Many are called but few are chosen.” More often than not, this dictum is used for priesthood since usually there are many who enter into the seminary to become a priest yet only very few reach the finish line of becoming a priest. In my case for example, we were seventeen who entered the pre-college seminary yet after fourteen years of undergoing different aspects of seminary formation, only two of us are ordained priests. The saying is actually the last verse of this Sunday’s gospel, Mt 22:14. And the gospel is a parable about the wedding feast which the king prepared for his son. When the feast was ready, the invited guests did not arrive for various reasons of excuses. So the king invited the street people but one of them was not wearing the proper attire and the king punished him severely.

The bible quotation then is essentially connected to the parable. Many are called to attend the wedding feast of the king, yet only few are chosen to enjoy the feast. Basing from the parable, only few are chosen to enjoy the feast not because only few are blessed, rather because the majority of those who are called have not responded positively to the call. The religious implication of the parable is that God calls all for eternal salvation. Only few respond properly to such call because the majority is busy with their earthly concerns that hinder them to give time to God. Let us remember that those who ignore the call to salvation are not bad in themselves; they simply are too occupied with their works, business and pleasures that they forget God.

The gospel teaches us that the king is God, the son is Jesus Christ, the palace is the church, the wedding feast is the holy Eucharist and the invited guests are all of us. God calls us to attend the mass at least every Sunday. But many of us refuse to go to the mass for various reasons: some dislike the mass for they do not want the priest or the act of praying; others do not go because they are busy with their business or they have scheduled outings or cockfighting; still others do not attend the mass because they need the time to gain money; some do not want the mass because they rather prefer to spend the time with their loved ones or do their vices; and few do not attend because they do not anymore believe in the preaching of the priests or the teachings of the church.

On the other hand, many of us have come to the Holy Mass not wearing the proper attire. Let us not confuse our attire with the attendance to the mass. Indeed, attendance to the mass is much more important than the attire we use in the mass; yet our attire manifests our disposition in the mass. Let us consider the fact that the church is the house of God and thus a sacred place. Many times we come to the church as if we are going to the market place, beach, park, plaza, restaurant, nightclub or even bedroom. We never think that the church is the palace of God and the holy mass is the wedding feast of Christ wherein God solemnizes the wedding of Christ, the bridegroom, and we, the church, as the bride. We ought then to wear the wedding garment, that is, the dress that is proper to this sacred place and the sacred ceremony in which we face with our God and Savior.

More important than our external clothing is our internal wedding garment, that is, our disposition to the mass. We may use the best dress that we have if our hearts and minds are full of pride, malice, lust, and evil desires, then we ought not to stay there but rather to the confession room. God calls us to enter the church for the mass clothed with the garment of faith, humility, sincerity, contrition, reverence, and love for God. Without these spiritual clothing, we are not worthy to attend the Holy Mass other wise, our attendance is simply a display of hypocrisy.

“Many are called but few are chosen (Mt 22:14).” Indeed, all of us are called to enter to the church to attend the Holy Eucharist and to gain for us the eternal salvation. Our being chosen does not depend on God but rather on our attitudes on how we respond to the call of God. If we refuse because our selfishness is more important than God’s glory or if we attend to the Holy Mass treating it as a natural social event, wearing not a decent garment and having not the Christian attitudes, then we are the ones who have decided not to be chosen because we have closed ourselves from the graces of Christ. Let us ask the help of the Blessed Mother. The Virgin Mary opened herself to the Will of God and entrusted her whole life for God’s glory. May through her intercessions we become courageous enough to die to our selfishness and live according to the teachings of the Church so that we may be able to attend the eternal feast of Christ in the heavenly palace where peace and joy reign without end.