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Friday, October 10, 2014

THE WEDDING INVITATION


28TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME - A
Matthew 22:1-14

What a joy to be invited to a wedding!  We all love weddings!   A wedding is a celebration of union between husband and wife and the union of families; it is also a celebration of joy expressed by the revelry and the banquet.
          The theme of the readings this Sunday is about the Royal Wedding Banquet. It is messianic and royal, heavenly and eschatological:  messianic and royal because it is the wedding of  the Messiah and of the King to his people; heavenly because it is a reality that represents the Kingdom of heaven; eschatological because it will happen at the end of time.

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 in the gospel is about the King who invited people to the wedding banquet of his son; it also shows us the attitude of the invitees 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 sent out and was punished as well.
          In the Old Testament the Israelites were the first ones to be invited being the Chosen People of God but they refused and killed their prophets who represented God’s messengers.  In the  New Testament they again rejected the one sent by God, Jesus who was the Messiah.   After the resurrection, the invitation was extended to the Gentiles and the rest of the world 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 a living and present reality with us as characters.  We are the new People of God and being members of the Church, we have responded positively to the invitation in the Wedding Banquet.  But this invitation is not just to those who received baptism and became members of the Church but to all peoples of the world.  The invitation remains a constant calling to each one of us and the rest of humanity not just in the heavenly banquet at the end of our lives but in the here and now of our existence.  It is God who calls us into a fellowship with Him as his children. Just like when we gather as a family in our homes most especially during meals, we also gather together as a Christian family every time we celebrate the Mass.  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 good works as fruits of our faith which we have to wear and bring into the celebration.

The wedding is not just about the banquet and food but primarily the union of the bride and the bridegroom and the families who participate in the celebration.   This is a very important consideration at the moment when our Church is currently having the Extraordinary Synod on the Family (Synod #14) at the Vatican to evaluate the situation of our families and to discern how the family can mirror the union of the Trinity as the Primordial Family.  Our relationship with God is nuptial:  it is about union, both as individual (personal) and communal (ecclesial).  If the Christian family, the domestic church, is the mirror of the Trinity as a family then our families should reflect this divine reality in the world.  The Eucharist in its humblest form symbolises the union of God with his family, here and now expressed in the earthly Eucharist and also in the time to come expressed in the heavenly Eucharist.  We are all invited into this union and banquet…

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