14 Oct TWENTY-EIGHTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Dear OLPH Family and Friends,
To our modern way of life it is difficult for us to even comprehend how unbelievable Isaiah’s banquet sounded to his listeners. To a people that struggled just to find enough food and drink to stay alive, this was impossible to fathom. The vision showed tremendous quantity and even greater quality. Remember! These people were all but slaves in a foreign land. As Isaiah paints the scene, it’s as if God takes people from a funeral procession and leads them into a surprise party.
Isaiah’s vision reminds us of the generosity of God who gives us all that we need. It might also remind us that God’s gifts are meant to be shared by all of God’s people.
This is the third week that Matthew provides stories about sons. First we had the sons who said “yes and no” and then reversed their initial responses. Then we saw the murder of the vineyard’s heir. Now we hear the story of the marriage feast of the king’s son. In the first story, the two sons stand in for us in our challenge to always say “yes” to the Lord and do it. In the second story with the “heir” we recognize Jesus. He brings word from His Father but it is rejected and He is killed. In today’s story of the feast, the son does not even appear on the scene. However, it is his wedding that brings about the invitation to the feast. Matthew has Jesus tell the story in the temple precincts, when the chief priests and Pharisees came to challenge His authority after the clearing of the Temple.
Those hearing the story at that time recognized that Matthew had turned the parable into a mini-history of Israel, alluding first to the people’s rejection of the prophets, and then alluding to the recent destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. The final scene, the king coming in to meet the guests gathered from the roads, is a fast forward to the final judgment. If we are puzzled by the king’s singling out a guest caught without a wedding garment, we must remember that the custom for such a feast was that the host would supply a closet full of festive garments for the guests. It is pure and simply the individual’s refusal to cooperate. As with several other parables in Matthew; e.g. Weeds and the Wheat, the Net, the Wise and Foolish Bridesmaids and the Sheep and the Goats, this parable is a caution to “be ready” at all times. Having one’s wedding garment on is a symbol parallel to having your oil-lamp ready for the arrival of the Bridegroom. It means having fed the hungry, having clothed the naked, having housed the homeless and so on as in the vision of the sheep and the goats. (Mt 25:31-46)
We believe that in baptism we were invited, indeed mandated to hear the Word of God and spread the Good News as best as possible. We were clothed in Christ and invited to the banquet of Christ Himself. How have we responded? Can we participate better? These are questions Jesus asks us. Are we ready to give the best response?
May God bless, preserve and keep you! Fr. Ron