Giving God Our Undivided Attention

10-11-2020From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

To whom or what do we give undivided attention? Our family and friends come to mind even when we are not with them. It is good to remember them because those very thoughts are a sign of our love for them. Our time and attention are also consumed at times by people or situations that upset us. Being at odds with people we love or deal with on a regular basis causes us to use time and mental energy in anger or disappointment. In the Gospel for today’s Mass (Matthew 22:1-14), we have the parable of a king who invites guests to his son’s wedding. When the king sends his servants to bring the invited guests, they refuse to come. Some of them show their unwillingness to come by physically abusing some servants and even killing others. The king obviously does not take this well, so he responds by sending his troops who “destroyed those murderers and burned their city.” As harsh as the rejection of the invitation was, the spurned host was even harsher.

This parable is in great contrast to how patient, merciful, and unconditionally loving God is. We can be away for years, pray by merely mouthing the words with thoughts far from the words, or just be “too busy,” but the moment we turn to God in prayer our faith, hope, and love are enkindled and fill us with purpose, joy, and gratitude. There is a guest who comes to the king’s feast without a wedding garment. Our wedding garment is our mental attitude. We always have God’s complete and undivided attention when we pray and encounter Him in the Sacraments. We know how refreshing and life giving it is just to be in the presence of those we love and those who love us. That is what prayer is all about. We give thanks to God. How good it is during our prayer time to come to the point where we say simply and sincerely, “Thank you.” It is the presence of those who know, love, and care for us that renews, refreshes, and invigorates us. God will never send out “troops” to destroy us. We do that to ourselves and others by our anger, hatred, vengeance, and refusal to forgive. Before God we cannot help but say with all sincerity and gratitude: “Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” How blessed we are that God never, never refuses our invitation or presence. He is never, never deaf to our thoughts, words, and concerns.

I offer the prayer of praise and thank for your reflection that we pray together at the beginning of Mass right after we offer our prayers for God’s mercy.

Glory to God in the highest,

and on earth peace to

people of good will.

We praise you,

we bless you,

we adore you,

we glorify you,

we give you thanks for your great glory,

Lord God, heavenly King,

O God, almighty Father.

Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son,

Lord God, Lamb of God,

Son of the Father,

you take away the sins of the world,

have mercy on us;

you take away the sins of the world,

receive our prayer;

you are seated at the right hand of

the Father, have mercy on us.

For you alone are the Holy One,

you alone are the Lord,

you alone are the Most High,

Jesus Christ,

with the Holy Spirit,

in the glory of God the Father. Amen.