Isaiah 25:6-10; Psalm 22. R/ v. 6; Philippians 4:12-14. 19-20 Matthew 22:1-14 (Shorter Form, verses 1-10)
Theme: THE MESSIANIC BANQUET
1. Today is the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year A. The readings today tell us about the Messianic Banquet!
The gospel today consists of two parables; the parable of the “Wedding Feast” (vv. 1-10) and the parable of the “Wedding Garment” (vv. 11-13). St. Matthew joined the two parables together into one parable in today’s gospel.
The first gospel parable on the “Wedding Feast” tells us that the Jews were the first to be invited to the Messianic Banquet of the Kingdom of Heaven, but they refused the invitation. Instead they persecuted and killed the prophets and apostles sent to invite them. As a result they were punished and in the year A.D. 70, Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans.
The invitation to the Messianic Banquet was then extended to the sinners and Gentiles, the non-Jews, the pagans, and they accepted the invitation and the banquet hall was full of guests!
The second gospel parable on the “Wedding Garment” tells us that the sinners, Gentiles and non-Jews who accepted the invitation have to put on their “wedding garments”, that is, they have to change their lives and do good deeds in order to eat and drink of the Messianic Banquet in heaven!
The Messianic Banquet for us today is the Eucharist! All of us are invited to the Eucharist every Sunday, but some of us are too busy to come. Some of us have to work on Sunday because it is double pay! Others are too lazy to come, because of parties and late nights on Saturday.
But many of us do come for Mass every Sunday! And of those of us who come to Sunday Mass there are the good and the bad, but most of us are good and bad. For even in the best of us there is something bad, and even in the worst of us there is something good! But good or bad, good and bad, all of us must put on the “Wedding Garment”, that is, all of us must change our lives and do good deeds in order to eat and drink of the Messianic Banquet in heaven!
The Eucharist gives us the graces to help us to change our lives and do good deeds, so that one day we will eat and drink of the Messianic Banquet in heaven! The Eucharist, the Messianic Banquet on earth, is an anticipation of the Messianic banquet in heaven, that is, the Eucharist is a foretaste of the Messianic Banquet in heaven! The love, life, joy and peace (shalom/salvation) of the Eucharist will be fulfilled, perfected and completed in heaven. That is why we have to come to the Sunday Eucharist / Mass every Sunday, so that one day we will eat and drink of the Messianic Banquet in heaven!
2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us of the life, joy and peace of the Messianic Banquet in heaven! The first reading tells us that in the Messianic Banquet in heaven, there will be no death and no sadness, but there will only be life, joy and peace (shalom/salvation)! Thus we read in the first reading:
“On this mountain, the Lord of hosts will prepare for all peoples a banquet of rich food, a banquet of fine wines, of food rich and juicy, of fine strained wines. On this mountain he will remove the mourning veil covering all peoples, and the shroud enwrapping all nations, he will destroy Death for ever. The Lord will wipe away the tears from every cheek; he will take away his people’s shame everywhere on earth, for the Lord has said so.
That day, it will be said: See, this is our God in whom we hoped for salvation; the Lord is the one in whom we hoped. We exult and we rejoice that he has saved us; for the hand of the Lord rests on this mountain.” (Is 25:6-10; SM)
The mountain in the first reading is Mount Zion, a symbol of the Heavenly Jerusalem! (CSB)
3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:
“In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell for ever and ever.” (Ps 22 (23): 6; SM)
The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first and second stanzas tell us about the Good Shepherd. The third and fourth stanzas tell us about the Host of the banquet. Today we will look at the third and fourth stanzas of the psalm, that is, the Host of the banquet.
The third and fourth stanzas of the psalm tell us that at the Messianic Banquet in heaven there will be no hatred, but there will only be love! Thus we read in stanzas three and four of the responsorial psalm from which the response is taken:
“You have prepared a banquet for me in the sight of my foes. My head you have anointed with oil; my cup is overflowing. Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me all the days of my life. In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell for ever and ever.” (Ps 22 (23): 5-6; SM)
4. The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday. The second reading tells us that St. Paul thanked the Philippians for their financial aid, but more importantly, the second reading tells us that St. Paul depended on Jesus Christ (NJB) for his strength, so that he can be poor or rich, or hungry or full! In the second reading St. Paul was in jail for proclaiming the good news!
5. Today in the Eucharist, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and our Risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will help us to change our lives and to do good deeds, so that one day we will eat and drink of the Messianic Banquet in heaven!
The Holy Spirit will also help us to proclaim the good news as St. Paul did, so that all may believe and be saved, and so that one day all may eat and drink of the Messianic banquet in heaven! A happy Sunday and a happy week to all of you! Amen!