Homily Twenty-eight Sunday Year A God's gift and our response

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Homily for the Twenty-eight Sunday Year A

Reading 1: “On this Mountain” refers initially to Mt. Zion where Jerusalem is built. But ultimately it is heaven. The prophet Isaiah is calling the people of Israel back to God.  He is talking to the Jewish exiles who have lost everything, because they put their hopes in others rather than in God. They had forsaken the God who was their true source of all good things and made good things their god. In doing so, they had broken their covenant relationship with God, giving him merely lip service.

Isaiah is calling the people back to the Lord. He tells them of the rich banquet of food and drink God will provide for his people who turn back to him. The Book of Revelation talks about the wedding banquet of heaven that awaits us.

Isaiah identifies the one fear that captures the hearts of the people, namely death. But the death here is not physical death, which is inevitable for everyone, rather it is the spiritual death, or second or eternal death, which separates us from God. What will God wipe away, when we turn back to him? He will wipe away our sins and their consequences, which is eternal separation from God.

The focus of the reading is what God will do when the people return back to him with their whole hearts.  He will do four things. 1. He will provide for all peoples a rich banquet. 2 They will not experience the second death. 3. He will wipe away the tears from every face. 4. He will remove the reproach of sin.  In other words, God will save them.

What should theirs and our response be? We should rejoice and be glad to follow the way of the Lord.

Gospel: The Gospel picks up on the theme of the rich banquet in Isaiah. The king is God; the wedding banquet is in honor of Jesus, his Son; the bride is the Church. The invitation was to share in the banquet.

How many times, like the people in the parable, have we ignored God’s invitation, choosing something else instead?  In the parable, they showed themselves not worthy, because they chose not what was ultimately best for them.

What was the wedding garment? In those days, so that people would not come in with their rags or dirty clothing, the host provided a wedding garment for each guest. One person refused to put it on. When we were baptized, we were clothed in the life of God, symbolized by a white cloth laid upon us. We were told to keep the garment unstained until the day we meet the Lord face to face. The man did not want to be part of the process. He didn’t have the wedding garment and thus was not desiring to be part of the celebration, except on his terms.

The gift of salvation comes from God. The conditions of response to salvation is from God. We can refuse the invitation. But others will be invited.  However, we can’t share in the banquet, if we die not in relationship with God, sharing in his Divine Life, given to us in baptism and nourished by the sacraments.  Without this wedding garment, the second death awaits us.

Reading 2: Paul’s words helps us to recognize the providential care of God in our lives, directly or through others. Paul experienced the ups and downs of having or not having.  He preached the Gospel free of charge.  He worked as a tent maker, so not to be a burden to those with whom he shared the gospel of salvation. His focus was not whether he had or did not have, or was well taken care of or not. His focus was that God will supply our needs, not as we expect, but as God sees is best for us.

Paul’s dependency was on God.  He said: “I can do all things in him who strengthens me.”  His message was simple. “My God will supply whatever you need, not just materially, but more importantly, spiritually. Therefore, look to him not only in time of need but also in time of sufficiency. Give him the praise and glory that is his due and in recognition of who he is and who we are in relationship to him.”

How much do we depend on God to take care of our needs after we have done our part?

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