How Do You Look? – Fr. Viet Nguyen

Fr. Viet Nguyen’s Homily October 10, 2020

“Let me ask you a question: how do you look? How do you look right now? Do you know what you look like? Oftentimes in our lives to know what we look like we have to see a reflection. We have to see a mirror, right? I was just thinking in the Gospel, maybe the one without a wedding garment didn’t know what he was wearing, didn’t know what to wear, didn’t know who he was? We need others to mirror back to us what we see because oftentimes we don’t see correctly. We need a mirror back to us who we are. Oftentimes in life we don’t know what we are searching for. What are you searching for? What is your goal, your ultimate goal? Is it success or is it something else? But if it is success then success in what and what does success look like? In today’s Gospel there is the wedding feast and the wedding feast is this great motif they use in the scriptures of the kingdom of Heaven. It’s a fest that we’re all invited to and in the story today, the king, which is God invites all. He sends out all these invitations, but no one responds and really it’s God calling us, all of us to come to Him, but no one responds, but what else does he do? He sends out his servants again and calls them to invite more people, other people, but some were too busy. They didn’t respond. They were too busy with their lives, the business of the world. Others rejected them, didn’t want to hear it, so finally he invites all. He invites all, good and bad alike, no judgement there and he invites all to the feast and here’s the real kicker: he points out one person who didn’t have a wedding garment and he sends them away, but why? If you look at this logically then he didn’t have time to change. He was just invited on the spot. God is calling us to look at our lives each day to prepare for the kingdom of Heaven to prepare for the feast to look at ourselves to purify our hearts and to continue growing in our faith with God. The wedding garment represents our cleanliness. When we’re baptized we are given a white cloth and we’re told to the parents and godparents to keep this cloth stainless. This very alb that the priest wears is white. It reminds us of the wedding garment. It reminds us of our baptism, but do we reflect every day on how we’re doing? How are you doing today? How do you look? And if you didn’t look in the mirror you might not know what you look like. Oftentimes in this world in the world that we live in today no one really wants to look at themselves truly, honestly look at ourselves. That’s why we have filters, don’t we? In Snapchat or Facebook or Twitter there’s different filters to clean things up. We’re alway putting our best foot forward and we think that’s how the world is, but why? To put an image of success, but for what? As Christians we should keep our eyes on the prize which is the kingdom of Heaven. In the Gospel today it seems harsh, but as we get to the end of the Gospel of Matthew it’s because we’re getting to the crucifixion of Christ. We’re getting to the end of the ordinary time, the end of the liturgical year and it is a time to reflect on our lives. We have in place in our culture certain times to look at ourself, maybe our birthdays to look at how we’re doing, especially new year’s. New years is a time where everyone looks at themselves honestly to see where they want to improve, but what is the common thing about people at new year’s resolutions? It never happens. Why is that? I think it’s because we don’t truly look at ourselves honestly, the good and the bad. Our culture is full of wanting to succeed as the goal, succeed in maybe getting enough money for retirement, maybe just getting our kids through high school right now and get through college and then we can kind of work on ourselves, or maybe it’s to just get through school? But what is that all for? Do we ever ask ourselves those questions? I think Mother Teresa had it correct. She said that ‘all of us, Christians or not, we’re all called not for success, but to be faithful.’ To be faithful…because what is success? Success is gauging ourselves with other people, but faith is looking at ourselves honestly, seeing our faults and then moving forward, but the only way to do that is in true communion with God, others and ourselves, but are we doing that? Are we looking at ourselves honestly? Do you let other people influence you, influence you to be better? Do you let the Word of God influence you, influence you to be better? Do you go to confession, acknowledge your sins so that you can move forward each day? Even in the liturgy today represents what we do in our daily lives. The first thing we do in the liturgy is to confess our sins so to prepare for the feast and so to in the Gospel today. God calls us. He’s always calling us closer to Him. How is God calling you today in your life? Is He calling you in what I’m saying right now? Is he calling you in the scriptures that you read? Is He calling you in your neighbor that you admire? Maybe He’s calling you in the beautiful weather that we’re having to do better? And really all those is the stirring of the Holy Spirit, but it’s only when we’re willing to look at ourselves honestly that we’re willing to respond to it, but if we’re willing to do that each and every day not worrying about the bad and the good of judgement then we’ll be ready at the end time, the last judgement. We won’t have to worry about if we have the wedding garment because we are trusting in God each day already that we’ll have it. So I ask you again, how are you looking today? How are people mirroring back to you how you’re doing? Are you receiving it honestly? Are you willing to move forward?

As you come to the Lord today where Christ is truly present before you in the Eucharist, an image of the wedding banquet feast let us now acknowledge our sins so that we can have the strength and the courage to receive Him so that he will nurture and sustain our lives so that we can move forward each day and see the kingdom of Heaven before us. Amen.”