28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
Philippians 4:12-14, 19-20
October 12, 2014
Isaiah speaks of how God will provide “a feast of rich food and choice wines.” This feast comes at the end of the ages and is celebrated as the great banquet in Heaven.
But first the Lord has work to do, to destroy the veil that veils all people, death. The people in those days say death as a final end and that shaped the way they viewed the world. As Lord, Jesus comes and shows us that earthly deathly is not the end. He shows us eternal life and so lifts the veil of death. Knowing there is something more after life as we know it ends in this world, changes the way we look at life.
Jesus speaks of a great wedding banquet. The king’s son is getting married and the king is throwing a huge banquet. Everyone has known this day was coming but now that it has arrived they are refusing the invitation. The king repeats the invitation. Still some ignore the invitation but others mistreat and even kill the servants who bring the invitation. So the king invites strangers off the street. One does not come dressed appropriately. We might wonder how the king can expect the guest to come dressed appropriately. The guest didn’t know he was going to be invited and had no time to prepare.
Of course, in telling this parable, Jesus is really speaking about being part of God’s kingdom. Ever since the death of King David, the Israelites had been waiting for a new messiah king, a son of the line of David.
Jesus is the messiah that they have been waiting for. What is the response of the Israelites? Some ignore him, some mistreat him, and some kill him. They have been waiting for centuries and that Jesus has finally come, they’re not interested.
It’s their choice. With their refusal the invitation to be part of God’s heavenly banquet will be offered to the Gentiles, people who did not believe in the one true God.
Since it is a last minute invitation, one might see it as a come as you are party. It isn’t. We have to come dressed appropriately. It seems today like a lot of people today just figure if they know about Jesus and God, they will get into Heaven. Knowing about Jesus isn’t enough.
In John 14:1-6, which is probably the most often used gospel at funerals, Jesus tells us that he goes to prepare a place in his Father’s house. Jesus says the only way in is to believe in him.
We just have to truly believe in Jesus. It’s not enough to say we believe. We need to live it. We must prepare accordingly.
This still leaves us with the question about the man who did not come dressed appropriately. There may be people who really don’t know about Jesus and they will be judged according. They may not have known about Jesus but they still could choose to be good and caring people.
Of course, we are not perfect. That’s why Jesus gives us the Sacrament of Reconciliation so we can confess our sins, repent, and be clothed in grace so that we can enter Heaven.
There are people who choose to live in ways that do not follow God’s ways. This is their choice.
Jesus offers the gift of salvation to all. Not everyone accepts the gift. You know before we updated the translations for Mass, at the words of consecration of the wine into blood, the priest used to say that Jesus died for all. Now we say “for many.”
This troubles some people but it reflects reality, not that salvation isn’t offered to everyone. Jesus offers the invitation to the heavenly banquet to each and every person but not all accept it. Many do but not all.
Salvation is a gift offered to all. Some take it lightly, some take it very seriously. We need to take it seriously. This is eternity and the heavenly banquet that we are talking about here.
Today we celebrate the Eucharist as our earthly participation in the heavenly banquet. We need to take it seriously. What we receive at Communion is not just bread and wine. It is the Body and Blood of Jesus.
How much do we take it for granted?
How much do we think about what it is we are receiving?
When we come forth to receive Communion we are saying that we believe it is the Body and Blood of Jesus that we are receiving. We are saying we believe that Jesus is the Way and the Truth, and the Life.
We are saying we believe but do we act like we believe?