The BCP

Twentieth Sunday after Trinity

Author: The Revd Dr Peter Toon

Collect

O Almighty and most merciful God, of thy bountiful goodness keep us, we beseech thee, from all things that may hurt us; that we, being ready both in body and soul, may cheerfully accomplish those things that thou wouldest have done; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Collect Commentary

We address God the Father as both omnipotent, everlastingly and infinitely powerful, and as most merciful, abounding in mercy towards sinners such as we are. But that is not the end, for we also address him as possessing within himself towards his creatures ìbountiful goodnessî, an overflowing, inexhaustible reservoir of goodness from which it is his desire and determination to secure our true & everlasting good.

Of such a Lord God we not merely ask but we beseech that he will so watch over us in his superlative power, mercy and goodness that we shall be kept from all things ñ spiritual and physical, material and immaterial ñ that may hurt us as whole beings (as persons with body and soul). We desire to be preserved by the grace of God as whole creatures from any harm intended against us by the world, the flesh and the devil. There is a divine, unifying connection between body & soul and harm to the one affects the other.

The desire to be free from harm is not for self-satisfaction or for a sense of self-worth; rather it is so that we are alert and ready in mind, heart and will to do what God commands and calls us to do as his servants in his world for his glory. We are to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world ñ being and doing that which we are taught by the Holy Ghost to be the will of God for us today. And, further, we are to do what the Lord commands and requires of us cheerfully, rejoicing! As the appointed Epistle declares: ìBe filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart.î

And all our prayer is offered to the Father through the Incarnate Son, the only Mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ who is the Lord. It is to his Messianic Banquet that sinners are called, as the appointed Gospel declares.

 

Epistle Ephesians 5.15-21

SEE then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs; singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

 

Gospel St. Matthew 22: 1-14

JESUS said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son; and sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding; and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready; come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: and the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth; and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they who were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the high-ways, and as many as ye shall find bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the high-ways, and gathered together all, as many as they found, both bad and good; and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment. And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.