Category Archives: Augustine

The wedding garment of love

Matthew 22: 1-14

To be invited to a wedding feast would be a surprise for most of the poor people who came and listened to Jesus. A wedding feast would be beyond the means of most of them and you got an invitation to the feast if you were one of the friends of the king.

But Jesus also addressed the parable of the banquet to the religious leaders who would probably get any number of invitations to banquets.

In the parable the invited make all sorts of excuses to avoid the banquet; some maltreat and kill the king’s messengers. So the king sends out his servants to invite those in the highways and byways – not ordinarily invited to banquets. And the hall is filled.

The Kingdom of Heaven is like that kind of banquet where God does not want any empty seats. For the peasants of Galilee this would have been an impossible dream – but it is the dream of God.

Yet there is a discordant note. There is a man without a wedding garment.

The poor invited to the banquet would obviously not have good clothes to wear. I believe, the king would have offered everyone a tunic to wear, where all would be equal.

But what is this wedding garment?

In this both, Saint Augustine and Blessed Monseñor Romero agree.

The wedding garment is love.

In Sermon 90, Saint Augustine preached:

“Whatever can this wedding garment be? For an answer we must go to the apostle [Paul}, who says, ‘The purpose of our command is to arouse the love that springs from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a genuine faith.” Only that kind of love is the wedding garment.”

In his homily on October 15, 1978, Monseñor Romero said:

“God desires the garment of justice. God wants Christians to clothe themselves in the garment of love.”

All are invited; all are welcome; but the God of Love, who offers us love and will fill us with love, asks that we put on love.




Birthing beginnings

A new year, a time for rebirth.


Hannah Arendt, in The Human Condition, notes the importance of birth. Inspired by St. Augustine she affirms that

Because they are initium [beginning], newcomers and beginners by virtue of birth, men take initiative, are prompted into action….

It is in the nature of beginning that something new is started which cannot be expected from whatever may have happened before. This character of startling unexpectedness is inherent in all beginnings and in all origins…. The new always happens against the overwhelming odds of statistical laws and their probability, which for all practical, everyday purposes amounts to certainty; the new therefore always appears in the guise of a miracle. The fact that man is capable of action means that the unexpected can be expected from him, that he is able to perform what is infinitely improbable….

Each birth is a new beginning, a recognition that something new, something never experienced before, has come into the world, shaking it up.

We get all too accustomed to the way things are, all too set in our ways and a child is born, turning everything upside down.

So too a celebration of the New Year can be a time to act in a new way, to make resolutions to change things.

Making resolutions is a sign of hope that we are not controlled by our past, that God opens up a way for us.

Keeping resolutions is a sign that God can convert us, change us, move us to be and to act in different, unexpected ways.

It is this fitting that todays Gospel has the shepherd running in haste to the manger. They have been told that something new has happened. A child is born! And if that isn’t enough, this child is God made flesh and is lying in a manger, a feed trough.

Something new is possible because something new has happened. A child is born.

And we can live and act anew – birthing new beginnings.