In the First Reading, God speaks to his people through Ezekiel. He tells them he will sanctify his great name which the people profaned among the nations. This is to let people know he is the Lord. He will do this by gathering his people and cleansing them. When they are cleansed, God will give them a new heart and a new spirit by removing the heart of stone and giving a heart of flesh.
Forgiveness and restoration always come from God. He initiates it. He gives them a new heart and a new spirit so they can obey him. God restores us and he expects us to live obedient to his commandments.
This shows us that God does not lack in forgiving us and restoring us. Just like in the Gospel today, the king invited many to his banquet. The first group rejected his invitation and even abused and killed his slaves who went to invite them. The king sent his troops to destroy these murderers and burned their city. The king then calls everyone to his banquet. The hall was filled with guests. But the king came in to see the guests and he notices a man who was not in wedding robes. The king had the man thrown out.
We are invited by God to his kingdom. The two possible responses are, we reject it, or we come to his kingdom. But coming to his kingdom does not automatically mean we will stay in the banquet. We need to “wear the proper attire” so to speak. This does not mean we need to wear nice clothes. But more importantly, we need to live the life of someone who belongs to the kingdom. Jesus says many are called, but few are chosen.
God calls many, and few are chosen because many of those called do not bother to come. For those who come and live according to the expectations of the kingdom, then God chooses them. Our being chosen by God depends on our response to his call.
St Bernard of Clairvaux was an abbot and is a doctor (meaning, teacher) of the Church. He answered God’s call and lived the way God wants him to live. Which is why God was able to do a lot of great works through him. He was able to influence a lot of people through his life that even his father and brothers entered his abbey. When the Abbey became too small, they had to expand and build more. Bernard also helped end a schism in the Church where an anti-pope was elected. He was also called to address the heresy of that day.
God called St Bernard and St Bernard answered and God chose St Bernard so God can do great things through him.
Lord, I know you call me to you. May I not reject your call. Instead, let me respond to it and come to you in humility. Teach me to surrender myself to you, that I may allow you to do great things through me.