Isaiah 25: 6-10a; Psalm 23: 1-6; Philippians 4: 12-14, 19-20; Matthew 22: 1-14
First Reading: In today’s first reading, the prophet’s words lift us in spirit to the heavenly Jerusalem where death is destroyed and the Lord will provide a rich banquet.
Psalm 23: This psalm’s vivid imagery invites us to experience the Lord as shepherd, leading us to living waters and a table of rich fair. Are you beginning to see a pattern to today’s readings?
Second Reading: Paul’s words are admirable. He ends this segment assuring his community that God will care for their every need, just as God cares for his every need. Again, that does not mean they will never be hungry, but rather that they will share in Christ’s glorious riches, the divine presence that will transform them and the world.
Gospel: Today’s parable in the Gospel appropriates the imagery of a Marriage bond and speaks of future reward as a wedding banquet. The main focus of the parable is on the response given to the invitation and the manner in which it is lived out.
Reflection: I’m not sure about you, but I do enjoy a nice banquet where you put on “wedding garments” and savor good food, good wine and good conversation! In today’s gospel parable, the feast in question was the king’s son’s wedding feast. The refusal to come was an unthinkable insult to the king and would have most likely been seen as a rebellion toward him. Unlike the parable of the tenants in last week’s gospel, the king was not asking anything from the guests, but honoring them by the invitation and offering them a sumptuous feast.
So what is Jesus trying to get at by the use of this parable? It is about being invited to God’s feast. We are all invited guests. Will you accept? Sometimes we do refuse the invitation and it is sin that gets in the way of our accepting it. Sin is our refusal to share in a special, loving, and covenantal relationship with God. Sin is our refusal to share in God’s feast and life, and this refusal damages our relationship with God as well as with each other. A refusal of an invitation to God’s feast is not simply a missed opportunity for a fine banquet, but a refused invitation to a share in the divine life and salvation.
While none of us would be foolish as to refuse, for example, an invitation to a state dinner at the White House, we do often refuse God’s many invitations that are far more important. We are invited, for example, to the Eucharistic feast every Sunday. We come, but do we truly participate in the banquet? We are invited to a feast of generosity through many opportunities to share our gifts with others less fortunate than ourselves (i.e. today’s Sharing Sunday). We are invited to a feast of relationships within family, workplace, and neighborhood. Do we share our values and spirituality with others?
Question for Reflection: What “feast” is the most important in my life?
Copyright © 2017, Scott W. Eakins. All Rights Reserved.