We are in the 28th week of ordinary time. This Sunday’s Scripture readings offer us a standing invitation to the everlasting joy of the Heavenly banquet. This invitation comes with a reminder that we need to stay ever ready for this Heavenly banquet by constantly wearing the wedding garment. That is, we are always called to live in a state of grace and holiness. All three readings describe how a loving and providing God ensures that there is abundant food for His people.
The first reading is a poem in which the prophet Isaiah depicts the Lord of Hosts as a lavish giver, as well as a mighty warrior who is victorious in everything, including life and death. The reading describes the Messianic banquet on the Lord’s holy mountain, which is for all His people. The “good news” is that it is a great feast of “rich food and choice wines.” But for the children of Israel the “bad news” is that Yahweh invites “all peoples,” who “on that Day” will sing together, “Let us rejoice and be glad that He has saved us.” It took a courageous prophet to speak of a God Whose loving care extended beyond the Chosen people, who prided themselves on their status as the only Chosen People. In some ways, Isaiah’s ideal state parallels Jesus’ parable about the King’s wedding banquet in the Gospel. Let us remember that Heaven, with its great banquet, is for us all. Our gracious and loving God wants all of us to become part of it. The invitation is extended to all; it is up to us to accept or to reject it.
In the second reading, St. Paul advises the Philippians to put their trust in the power and goodness of a providing God, Who, in Jesus, has given His Church everything needed to enable His followers to participate in the Heavenly banquet. Paul reminds us of our need for a complete and unquestioning trust in God and for the firm conviction that He is regulating the affairs of our lives. Paul concludes, saying that God who strengthened Paul during his lifetime will continue to strengthen us until the end of time.
The parable of the wedding feast is the final of three parables Jesus addressed to the leaders of His time. It is a lavish banquet, for all, and He compares it to the Heavenly banquet. The invited people rejected the invitation by not listening to the Good News preached by Jesus and by not reforming their lives. This invitation was repeatedly extended to Israel through the prophets. But the people, especially the religious leaders, rejected the reality that Jesus was the fulfillment of all prophecies, and refused to accept God’s invitation to righteous living given through John the Baptist and through Jesus. Hence, God is inviting the sinners and Gentiles to His banquet, and that is why Jesus reached out to the sinners. We need to keep wearing the wedding garment of holiness and righteousness, in a state of grace, all the time. We received the “wedding garment” of sanctifying grace in Baptism, and through the other Sacraments. Our participation in the Eucharist, the Sacrament of Reconciliation and in personal and family prayers helps us to recharge our spiritual batteries and enables us to lead Spirit-filled lives. Jesus continues to nourish us in the Church through the proclamation of the word of God and through the faith community.
The Gospel reading reminds us that we need to participate in the Eucharistic celebration with proper preparation by repenting of our sins and by actively participating in the prayers and singing during Mass. The Eucharistic celebration, the Body and Blood of Christ, prefigures the Heavenly banquet which awaits us all. The reading concludes by stating that many are invited, but few are chosen. In order to be chosen for the divine banquet we need to prepare, to keep our wedding garment always ready.
This Sunday, after the 11:00 am Mass, we will celebrate the much-awaited Family Fest in the hall. There was a flyer in last week’s bulletin which described some of the major activities and food we will be having at the Family Fest. As you may have noticed, some of those activities are new. We added them to include everyone: families, children, and people of every age. Please come and enjoy the Family Fest and the company of the people of our wonderful parish community.