28th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Fr. Rick Sherman
October 11, 2020
Is 25:6-10; PHIL 4:12-14, 19-20; MT 22:1-14
Getting thrown back out onto the street seems awfully severe for just not having the proper attire. They were hard up for guests, in fact this was the third string getting called in, so why throw the poor guy out.
Since this is the king’s son getting married, it would have been a very formal affair where a certain type of attire would be expected and hence, for those who perhaps could not afford or acquire the correct duds, they would have been provided at the door. Apparently, even after such an elaborate gift and invitation, and the right attire available, the guest chose not to suit up appropriately.
We also have to remember that this is a parable. And that it was directed toward the Jewish chief priests and the elders, the vast majority whom did not recognize Jesus, the Son of the heavenly King. The wedding here represents the heavenly banquet we celebrate every time we come to Mass and also the Heavenly Wedding Banquet which is prefigured by the Mass. There is no specific mention in this parable to the bride because the bride is us, the Church. If we come to the banquet with the right attitude, robed in charity, we might say, then we will be a fitting bride for the Son, the Heavenly Bridegroom. Showing up is not enough, we must prepare and come ready to participate according to God’s plan; according to the rules. As St. Paul tells us in the second reading today: “My God will fully supply whatever you need, in accord with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus”. If we follow Jesus. If we imitate Jesus.
We don’t really have to wait until the end time to start enjoying the gifts and riches of heaven. Again from St. Paul, “I know how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance. In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need.
I can do all things in him who strengthens me.”
In contemporary parlance we call this ‘stewardship’. We realize that God provides everything we need, individually and also collectively. When we realize that it was God in the first place who provided everything, since Creation, then we can more easily recall that we must share in proportion to what God has given us. God wants us to live lives of abundance. To be humble does not mean to be destitute and miserable. It means accepting and cultivating and using the many gifts he has given us. Then we and everyone else will be taken care of as is the vision from Isaiah today. All the rich foods and choice wines of the banquet will be provided amidst God “destroy(ing) the veil that veils all peoples, the web that is woven over all nations; he will destroy death forever.” Recall that death came with sin. After eating from the tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve could no longer SEE as God sees the world. They began living in shame and fear. This is part of the veil that will be removed at the end time when the bride, the Church, is presented to the Lamb, Jesus, at the heavenly wedding banquet.
While we are still on this side of Judgement Day, we are the Guests and we are hosts, the servants and messengers of the King. The proper use of our abundance and ability to persevere in times of shortage are the consequence of our ability to live in accord with the plan (the riches) personally demonstrated by Jesus Christ.
Even with such a promise we all too often imitate the original guests:
Some just outright refused to come. Some ignored the invitation, others returned to the farm and their business. Some were right down vicious and attacked the messengers. The veil of sin and confusion has us going many different directions and following many different voices and invitations that are definitely NOT Jesus. The distractions are literally constant.
We do have many other invitations to keep us focused on the true King and His plan for us. This includes learning how to talk to a wider variety of guest who might get invited to the banquet.
New social encyclical just released by Pope Francis: Fratelli Tutti : Fraternity and social friendship offering a Catholic response to global politics and economics.
Also see our bulletin for other opportunities to help us apply a truly Catholic perspective on a variety of contemporary issues. (These are also just one click away on our website under Fr. Rick’s Pastoral Messages).
See special offering envelope for next weekend, Mission Sunday.