Homily Twenty-eighth Sunday Year A The eternal banquet

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Homily: Twenty-eighth Sunday Year A

 

Reading 1: The prophet is talking to exiles, who have lost everything in which they had put their hopes in: property, security, freedom, material goods, jobs, house. Why? They had forgotten the God, who is the source of all good things. Instead the people had made good things their god.  Isaiah is calling the people backed to God. 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 speaks about the wedding banquet of heaven that awaits us.

 

Isaiah identifies the one thing that captures the heart of people, namely death. But the death here is not physical death, which separates us from the earthly world and our family and friends. Rather, it is the spiritual, second or eternal death, which separates us from God. What will God wipe away, what is the reproach of the people? It is the sin which leads to the second.

 

The focus of the prophetic reading is the Lord God will provide the rich banquet, will destroy the second death, will remove the reproach of sin, will save us. Our response: Rejoice and be glad and follow 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; the bride is the Church. The invitation was to share in the banquet.

 

Jesus says that God has prepared a banquet. It is the banquet of salvation and union with God. God has invited to this salvific feast his chosen people. But many refused to come and participate on God’s terms. They were too busy with personal and worldly matters. Eternal salvation was not on their radar screen. Right relationship with God was not their immediate or ultimate concern.

 

As a result, Jesus says that God will extend his invitation to salvation to others. However, to enter the Kingdom of God there was one stipulation. One must wear the garment of salvation, given to them with the invitation.

 

 

What was the wedding garment? In those days, people had a special garment used only at celebrations, such as a wedding. If they were too poor, the host would provide such a garment, so that people would not come to a wedding in their rags or dirty clothing. One person did not respect the host and refused to accept it.

 

When we were baptized, we were clothed in the life of God, symbolized by the white garment laid upon us. We were told to keep this garment unstained until the day we will meet the Lord face to face. This person did not care about the requirement. It would be like you were invited to a formal ball and the required dress was a formal gown or a tuxedo, would we go with shorts and tennis shoes? Out of respect we would not.

 

To share life with God eternally, we need to be in right relationship with God, not from our perspective, but from God’s. He is the one who has died on the cross to save us. He is the one who baptized us into his new life. He is the one that sets the stipulations and requirements.

 

Reading 2: Paul’s writing helps us to recognize the providential care of God in our lives, directly or through others. His focus was not whether he had or did not have or was taken care of or not. His focus was that God will supply our needs, not as we expect but as he sees best for us. At times, he will involve others to take care of our needs and he will involve us to meet the needs of others. Paul’s dependency was on God.

 

How much do we depend upon God to take care of our needs?  How often have we followed the grace movement of God to take care of the needs of others? 

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