28TH SUNDAY ORDINARY TIME
Recorded at the Australian Catholic Radio Online:
Weddings are the happiest celebrations we can ever have. The wedding reception completes the celebration wherein the invitees take part in the banquet prepared by the groom and bride.
The theme of the readings this Sunday is about the Royal Wedding Banquet. It is a messianic banquet because it is the wedding of Jesus the Messiah to his bride the Church. It is also a heavenly banquet because it pertains to the Kingdom of heaven. The first reading in the book of Isaiah prophesies that the banquet will be of fine wines and rich food which will be served for all peoples.
The parable is about the invitees to a wedding banquet and their attitude towards the celebration. The first ones to be invited refused the invitation and killed the servants. In anger, the king sent his troops to destroy the murderers. Then the invitation was extended to everyone until the wedding hall was filled with guests. Yet one of the guests was not in a proper wedding attire so he was punished as well.
The Israelites were the first ones to be invited being the Chosen People of God. In their stubbornness they killed their prophets and rejected Jesus as the Messiah. In 70 AD the Temple of Jerusalem which was the center of the religious life of the Jews was destroyed by the Romans. It was the punishment of Israel for rejecting and murdering Jesus. After the resurrection, the Gospel was preached to the Gentiles who willingly accepted it hence the growth and spread of the Church. These were the new invitees to the messianic banquet who accepted Jesus Christ as the Messiah.
The parable is a story not just of the past with the Jews and Gentiles but it is living reality with us as its present characters. We are the new People of God and being members of the Church, we are now the invitees to the Wedding Banquet. Just as being the Chosen People of God was not an assurance of entrance to the messianic banquet, our baptism and membership in the Church is not our ticket to taste the heavenly banquet. The invitation remains a constant calling to each one of us not just to be in the heavenly banquet at the end of our lives but here and now at the present time. It is God who calls us in fellowship with Him together with the members of the Church. This is very concrete when we gather together as a Christian community every time we celebrate the Mass especially on Sundays. It is the time when we partake in a banquet prepared for us by God in the form of bread and wine which is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. It is the foretaste of the banquet we will be celebrating for the rest of our lives in heaven. Our “wedding garment” represents our good works as fruits of our faith.
The door swings open and I behold a majestic hall
Crystals with most precious stones adorn the wall
Transparent as glass are the flowers in pure gold,
Ground covered with sand made of pearls untold
Around the table, twelve chairs of agate, jasper,
Emerald, onyx, carnelian, yellow quartz, sapphire,
Beryl, topaz, turquoise, amethyst and chalcedony,
The light at the inner chamber shining so brightly
Where all my friends are gathered clothed in white
Greeting me a hero’s welcome beyond my delight
To my amazement, the banquet is prepared for me
It is my wedding to my Beloved Lamb in eternity....