Are We Wearing The Jersey?


28th Sunday Ordinary Time

Deacon Tom Vert

Preached: October 15, 2023

Are we wearing the jersey or is it in the closet?

Every year, depending on the season, we see people wearing football, basketball, soccer, or hockey jerseys. For many the jersey is in the closet mostly and only comes out when the team is in the playoffs or only when there is a special game.

There are some people who wear their jerseys all the time. Though I am not a Maple Leaf fan, I must admire that they stick with their team no matter what!

I was thinking about jerseys when I was preparing my homily and reading the last few lines of the gospel today. We see that the king invited everyone to the banquet, regardless of status, after the first people rejected his invitation and did not come.

He invited the poor, the lame, the homeless, the good, and the bad and then yet he got upset that the one person was not wearing the wedding robe? Why? This section has always puzzled me! He invited everyone, why did this robe make him so upset?

If you look historically as this, the Jewish of the people wore outer robes. The wealthier you were, the more robes you had. Also, the wealthy people, at a wedding feast, would wear a special wedding robe bought just for the occasion for all of the guests.

So, when the king saw this guest without the robe purposely bought for them, he was not happy.

What is Matthew trying to convey to the people at the time about this parable that Jesus told? The message it that the Jewish people had rejected the prophets and messages of God about Christ coming, and that Jesus came into the world for everyone…the poor, the good, the bad, etc.

When a Christian accepted this new life and was baptized, we are told by St. Paul in his letter to the Colossians “you have clothed yourselves with the new self”! So, Matthew was telling the people, that if you are on the Christian team, you must wear the jersey all the time!

It is not something to be worn now and then, only during the playoffs or on Sundays, but it is to be worn at all times as a way of life!

St. Paul says: “Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…bear with one another…forgive each other…and above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

So, I was thinking as I was walking around our new church, what would a parish jersey for St. Catherine of Siena look like? What crests would we have on it? If people saw our parishioners at Limeridge mall, what would stand out for them?

The first sign would be what Father Mark challenged the building committee with six years ago – we want to be a parish that is welcoming! We want to welcome people not only the first time, but every time they come to our church.

We will do this with a church that is open during the day on weekdays so when people need to they can come and pray in our chapel, or light a candle in our shrines. We will welcome them with a smile when they arrive and a coffee and treats at least once per month, so we can all support each other in the journey of life.

The jersey will also have a symbol that represents peace, as we hear in the psalm that we sung…we are peaceful because we know the Lord is our shepherd, the Lord restores us, and comforts us and blesses us so we are thankful that goodness and mercy follows us every day of our lives.

We will have an emblem like a flame, as we model St. Catherine and set the world on fire with
our passion for doing good in the world!

We do this in our St. Vincent de Paul, the Catholic Women’s League and the Knights of Columbus active in our parish, but we also do it in our families, our workplaces and our schools.

We will have symbols of thankfulness, in gratitude not just for a new building, and the fact we finally have good parking! But that the building will allow us to reach out to so many more people and for creating a wonderful community of faith that cares about each other and supports each other in our faith lives, but also in our daily lives!.

And finally, as we see in the first reading from Isaiah, we will wear the garment of joy, because we know that God has already accepted us and loves us, we put the robe on not to gain his love, but to show his love!

And we show His love to each person coming into our lives each day.

And we will do this, with every step we take, as we count on the Holy Spirit to be our guide.

As we enter this new church building next week, it might be a good occasion to ask ourselves,
“Are we wearing the jersey or is it in the closet?”

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