What Should I Wear?
Fourteenth Sunday Ordinary Time
July 3, 2022 •
As human beings, we intuitively recognize that the way we present ourselves, the clothing that we wear matters culturally. It always has and always will.. . . In fact, in many very formal events - a fancy restaurant, the opera - the won't let you if you're not dressed appropriately.
It's not a new thing in this day and age. It's always been like this in every culture because human beings, by God's design, recognize the importance of externals. Now externals aren't everything. They're not the most important thing, that's the internal, the spiritual, the soul. But the externals matter.
And they're important by design. God designed us. He designed human nature such that, all of the external things in the world, are supposed to be a sign of the spiritual world, the hidden world. Our bodies actually reveal the nature of our souls.
We say that the soul is the form of the body. So the body, by its very design and function, expresses the mysteries of the spiritual soul.
Externals matter because they are meant to reveal the hidden spiritual truths.
You all remember a story that Jesus spoke about the kingdom of heaven. It's like a king who throws great wedding feast for his son. He invites all the dignitaries, all the important people, but they all make excuses and can't come. He says to his servants "Go out and find anyone who will come. The poor, the weak, doesn't matter. Bring them all in I'm having a party for my son." Once the party has begun a man is found there at the gathering not dressed appropriately.
The Lord says to to his servants, "Bind his hands and feet and throw him outside into the darkness." Because he's not dressed appropriately for this celebration.
Now, Jesus of course is referring to heaven. . . . He's telling us you have to be dressed appropriately to go to heaven. Now it's not a physical grab, it's a spiritual one that we receive at baptism. It's that white garment, that spiritual cleansing that we receive by the gift of the Holy Spirit and the sacrifice of Christ.
If we don't keep that spiritual garment clean and spotless, then when it's our turn to go to heaven, we might get kicked out, because we're not dressed appropriately. Now that's the higher truth. That's the most important thing we have to focus on.
But it's also true on a natural level. For God the most important thing is your soul. But He also realizes the importance of the externals because the external effect everyone else around you.
So modesty refers to that appropriate dress in appropriate situations depending on who you are. That's why the Church has always had such strict rules about what the priest and the servers should wear in the sanctuary. These external trappings - they're not spiritually necessary - but they reflect the spiritual truth of what we're doing up here.
So when we come to Church, what is the goal of our presence and ultimately, of the clothes which we choose to wear?
Obviously, the purpose of Mass is to worship God. That's the primary reason you are obligated to come to Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation. You have to worship the God Who made you and the God Who sent His Son to die for you. It's not to receive communion actually. You come to Mass to worship God.
How we dress reflects our view of what we're dong. Whether we think it's important or not. Whether we think it's sacred or not. . . . If you're not trying to wear the best you have, then on some level, you don't think our Lord deserves it.
Is 66:10-14c; Ps 66:1-7, 16, 20; Gal 6:14-18; Lk 10:1-12, 17-20
Homily begins at 12:30