09 Oct – Twenty-Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time
The Lord’s Wedding Feast
In Christ Jesus, God fulfils all our needs, as lavishly as only God can. All of us, no matter how unworthy we may be, are invited to the wedding feast of his Son. We have only to enter.
– The Sunday Missal
On this mountain,
the Lord of Hosts will prepare for all peoples
a banquet of rich food, a banquet of fine wines,
of food rich and juicy, of fine strained wines.
On this mountain he will remove
the mourning veil covering all peoples,
and the shroud enwrapping all nations,
he will destroy Death for ever.
The Lord will wipe away
the tears from every cheek;
he will take away his people’s shame
everywhere on earth,
for the Lord has said so.
That day, it will be said: See, this is our God
in whom we hoped for salvation;
the Lord is the one in whom we hoped.
We exult and we rejoice
that he has saved us;
for the hand of the Lord
rests on this mountain.
I know how to be poor and I know how to be rich too. I have been through my initiation and now I am ready for anything anywhere: full stomach or empty stomach, poverty or plenty. There is nothing I cannot master with the help of the One who gives me strength. All the same, it was good of you to share with me in my hardships. In return my God will fulfil all your needs, in Christ Jesus, as lavishly as only God can. Glory to God, our Father, for ever and ever. Amen.
Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people, ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a feast for his son’s wedding. He sent his servants to call those who had been invited, but they would not come. Next he sent some more servants. “Tell those who have been invited” he said “that I have my banquet all prepared, my oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, everything is ready. Come to the wedding.” But they were not interested: one went off to his farm, another to his business, and the rest seized his servants, maltreated them and killed them. The king was furious. He despatched his troops, destroyed those murderers and burnt their town. Then he said to his servants, “The wedding is ready; but as those who were invited proved to be unworthy, go to the crossroads in the town and invite everyone you can find to the wedding.” So these servants went out on to the roads and collected together everyone they could find, bad and good alike; and the wedding hall was filled with guests. When the king came in to look at the guests he noticed one man who was not wearing a wedding garment, and said to him, “How did you get in here, my friend, without a wedding garment?” And the man was silent. Then the king said to the attendants, “Bind him hand and foot and throw him out into the dark, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.” For many are called, but few are chosen.’
Know that many are called, but few are chosen
It must be a good year to be married. This year, I’ve received more than the usual number of wedding invitations. Everyone seems to be tying the knot. I think wedding preparations give us an opportunity to take stock of ourselves, the people we love and the people we thought we loved. How do you whittle down a wedding guest-list of hundreds to only a handful of loved ones? What do you do when they don’t RSVP or simply can’t be bothered to? And what do you do when you specifically say, ‘black tie formal’ and some still show up in their ‘Saturday casuals’?
Today’s gospel reading is about just such a thing, planning a wedding banquet, specifically God’s wedding banquet – “I have prepared a banquet, slaughtered fattened calves and other animals, and now everything is ready; come then, to the wedding feast” (Matt 5:4). If we have any doubts of the pains taken, the reading in Philippians assures us that, “on this mountain, Yahweh will prepare for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wines, meat full of marrow, fine wine strained” (Phil 25:6).
Unlike our own wedding guest list, God’s invitations are sent out to all. Everyone gets a chance to hear the gospel of mercy, justice, forgiveness, love and hope. He awaits our response to His call. We have our whole life to get ready for His feast. Yet we procrastinate with our RSVPs – ‘they paid no attention and went away, some to their fields, and others to their work” (Matt 22:5). What if we do not answer? What if we do not respond to His call? “The wedding banquet is prepared, but the invited guests are not worthy. Go then, to the crossroads and invite everyone you find to the wedding feast” (Matt 22:8-9). Other invitations are sent out to those more responsive than us.
For those of us who were born cradle Christians, there can be a tendency to take God for granted. We are given the wedding banquet invitation at birth but put it aside as we deal with life’s other distractions – work, responsibilities, our need to provide for a secure life. For those of us who were not born cradle Christians, God calls us, sends us an invitation to His feast and we rejoice when we receive it, but slowly we too start to take Him for granted and go back, “some to their fields, and others to their work”. Some of us may even become disillusioned with our faith along the way and turn our anger and frustration against His messengers – “while the rest seized the servants of the king, insulted them and killed them” (Matt 22:6).
In the end, God’s guest list whittles itself down to those who have held on to their wedding invites, who have RSVP-ed, who have responded to His call and lived lives in a state of preparedness. It whittles itself down to those who will come gladly and willingly, who arrived garbed with faith, hope, love and a life lived in faithful submission to Him. Have we sent Him yet, our RSVPs? Have we started to get ready for His wedding feast? “…Happy are those who eat at the banquet in the Kingdom of God” – Luke 14:15.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Sharon Soo)
Prayer: We pray the weight of our responsibilities don’t weigh us down so we cannot hear or heed His call to His banquet.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for the opportunity to serve Him, each in our own ways as we strive to be ready and worthy to be at His wedding banquet.
Mon, 10 Oct – Romans 1:1-7; Luke 11:29-32
Tue, 11 Oct – Romans 1:16-25; Luke 11:37-41
Wed, 12 Oct – Romans 2:1-11; Luke 11:42-46
Thu, 13 Oct – Romans 3:21-30; Luke 11:47-54
Fri, 14 Oct – Romans 4:1-8; Luke 12:1-7; Memorial for St Callistus I, Pope & Martyr
Sat, 15 Oct – Romans 4:13.16-18; Luke 12:8-12; Memorial for St Teresa of Jesus, Virgin & Doctor of the Church
Sun, 16 Oct – Isaiah 45:1.4-6; Thessalonians 1:1-5; Matthew 22:15-21; Twenty-Ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time