V


The Call

You have not chosen me. I have chosen you, and appointed you to produce good fruit from the lives that you live, fruit that will last.

A man had two sons. He said to the elder: "Son, go and work today in my vineyard."

"I will not," the son replied; but later he experienced a change of heart, and went to the fields to work.

Then the father said to the younger son: "Go into the fields as well."

Immediately he answered: "I will." But he remained at home, and ignored his father's words. Which of these two sons fulfilled their father's request?

Why do you call me good, unless you believe I am God? You know the commandments: do not commit adultery; Do not kill; Do not steal; Do not bear false witness; Honor your father and your mother. Doing this, you will have treasures in heaven. And yet, you fall short by honoring me with your words alone, and not using everything – your wealth, your possessions, and your life – to help those in need.

If you wish to follow me, you must first put aside your own desires and your self-centered ways. Sacrifice your pride and follow me. Those who desire eternal life must put aside their old way of life. All who do this for my sake will discover new life – both here on earth as well as in heaven.

Once there was a king who planned the wedding of his son. When all was ready, he sent forth his servants to the provinces of his kingdom to summon those invited to the wedding. Incredibly, the guests refused to come.

Undaunted, the king sent out his servants a second time, saying: "Tell those invited to the wedding, I have prepared a great feast. My oxen and best calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding."

But again the subjects made light of the king's invitation and returned to their work ; some to their farms, others to their shops. Some remained behind, and these took hold of the king's servants and beat them to death.

When the king learned of what had happened, he was enraged. He sent his palace soldiers into the provinces, and they caught the murderers, executed them, and burned their houses to the ground.

Then the King turned to his servant. "The wedding is ready,” he said, “but those who were invited were not worthy to attend. Go then, to those whom you meet on street corners and highways, and invite them in to the wedding."

The servants did as the king commanded them. They went to the street corners of the city and out along the highways and invited everyone they encountered, both the good and the bad, until the wedding hall was filled with guests.

That evening, the king was greatly displeased to see one at the table eating without the wedding garment that had been provided. He asked: "How is it that you came in to the feast without your wedding garment?" But the man could give no excuse.

Then the king said to his servants: "Bind this man and have him removed."

I add this to this story: many are called – into the kingdom – but few are chosen. The time has come. The kingdom of God is near at hand. I have called you from the world's way of living. Repent, put on the garments of salvation, and believe this good news.

No one can come to me unless the Father, who has sent me, draws him; and I will raise up that person on the last day. All of you whom the Father has given me will come to me: and whoever comes to me, I will never refuse.

Because I have told you such things, do you believe? Truly, you will witness even greater things than these.

Enter therefore through the narrow gate; for wide is the path, and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many go that way. But narrow is the gate and the path which leads to life, and there are few that find it. Make every effort to go through the gate that leads to life. One day, many will want to exchange their way for the right way, and find it to be too late.



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