Readings: Is 25:6-10; Phil 4:12-14,19-20; Mt 22:1-14
Commitment to God’s invitation sums up best the message of this Sunday. The readings speak about the Kingdom of heaven, compared to an invitation to a wedding banquet. All three readings clearly highlight a stewardship theme of our God who cares and provides for his people. The first reading from the Prophet Isaiah offers one of the most beautiful images of this Kingdom. Isaiah uses very clear graphic description of the great banquet that the Lord will prepare for his people. There will be good food and fine wines; there will be neither mourning nor death for the Lord will destroy death forever. “The Lord will wipe away the tears from every face”. There will be exultation and rejoicing, because the lord “has saved us”. This is all placed in the future. Paul in the Second Reading speaks indirectly of the same feast provided by the Lord for his people. Paul had learned to be content with whatever God provided generously. He had learned the secret of being well fed, referring to spiritual food. As a faithful steward, Paul found strength in the Lord Jesus. The response to what God generously provides for his people, for Paul and for us of today is expressed in Psalm 23. The psalm is clearly song of thanksgiving to the Lord and a prelude to the Eucharist we celebrate.
In the Gospel, Jesus tells the Parable of the Wedding Feast. The banquet is now ready and the king sends his servants twice to invite the guests, but those invited are too busy to accept the invitation because they are too selfish with their free time. Their business is so important that they snob a royal invitation. The negative response to that invitation is tantamount to rebellion and disloyalty. We are told that the king dispatches troops to destroy those murderers and their city. But the king does not give up. He makes a final invitation to everyone his servants can find, an allusion to God's universal invitation to salvation. In the banquet hall, an image of the Church, everyone has a place - "the bad and the good". You and I have accepted God’s invitation to come to the wedding banquet, namely the Eucharistic celebration. However, there is one main requirement. All must wear their best in order to share the meal in the royal banquet. The garments are provided freely through the Sacraments, particularly the Sacrament of reconciliation. God invites us out of a free act of generosity. The message may be summed up in three points. 1) The parable in the Gospel is a challenge to commit ourselves to God’s invitation to be the best version of ourselves. The question is, are we too busy doing stuff that do not matter instead of responding positively to God’s invitation? 2) The good news is that God never gives up even when we say no. God sends out his messengers with another invitation. All are welcome to God’s Banquet of the Lamb at which there is free lunch. The only condition is to wear the wedding garment of grace provided freely through the sacraments. 3) We are challenged to commit ourselves to God’s invitation or to reject it; to give time to God or to pretend we own time! We can also go to the banquet hall and decline to wear the garment provided freely through the sacrament of reconciliation. The choice is mine; the choice is yours!
©2017 John S. Mbinda