28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Oct. 9, 2011)

I can’t help but wonder how many pastors will use Sunday’s Gospel (the man kicked out of the wedding reception because he wasn’t dressed properly) as a lead-in to a sermon on how to properly dress for Mass!

Here at St. Paul’s Retirement facility, it’s fun to see how folks are dressed on Sunday morning. The Catholic Mass is at 9:45. Some folks come in suits or dresses, most are dressed casually. The Protestant service is at 11, and on the way back to my apartment after Mass, I see all the folks coming to that service absolutely dressed to the nines!

I wonder where that phrase originated. Nine seems to be a number denoting “great,” “superlative,” “the best,” etc. We not only have “dressed to the nines,” but also “cloud nine,” “the whole nine yards,” “nine days of wonder,” etc.

For all I know, that can help explain why that guy was kicked out of the feast … he wasn’t dressed to the nines. But I kinda suspect that the lack of a proper dress could refer to his attitude or to the way he was behaving. He could have been complaining about this and that and the other thing, gorging himself selfishly, drinking too much and acting like a jerk, or off in a corner sulking or pouting because he didn’t get the deference or perks he felt he was entitled to. Maybe he didn’t want to be there but was cajoled into coming, and was determined not to enjoy himself.

We know people like this, not just at wedding receptions, but in parishes, in families, in organizations. They are toxic, and put a pall over everything. Contrast this with the joy and happiness characteristic of a wedding feast, characteristic of the Mass, characteristic of a special family holiday or occasion, of a work place, and so on. It never ceases to amaze me how all it takes is just one person to drag everyone and everything else down. May God grant us the grace to not be the dragger-downer, but the lifter-upper.

Be God’s smile for someone today!

herb yost reflections

Fr. Herb, C.S.C.

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