St. Pius X, pope

Today’s readings

St. Pius would have been a great organizer of the feast that our Gospel tells us about today. The whole point of the feast is that all are welcome, but some choose not to come, or don’t come worthily. Jesus was speaking pointedly to the Jewish rulers who should have had the place of honor at the banquet. But they all had excuses that kept them away. And so the banquet was made available to all the nations – Gentiles too! – if they would come properly attired, that is, if they would come worthily, with open hearts and longing minds.

St. Pius X was born Joseph Sarto, the second of ten children in a poor Italian family. He became pope at the age of 68, and he too wanted to open the banquet for all those who would come worthily. He encouraged frequent reception of Holy Communion, which was observed sparingly in his day, and especially encouraged children to come to the banquet. During his reign, he famously ended, and subsequently refused to reinstate, state interference in canonical affairs. He had foreseen World War I, but because he died just a few weeks after the war began, he was unable to speak much about it. On his deathbed, however, he said, “This is the last affliction the Lord will visit on me. I would gladly give my life to save my poor children from this ghastly scourge.”

“The feast is ready,” we are told in today’s Gospel. May we all take this occasion to receive the Eucharist worthily and often, reviving our devotion and love for the Eucharist every day. May we all be among those brought in for the feast, and found to be appropriately attired with pure hearts.