Matthew 22;1-10. Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time. October 15th, 2017
The wedding imagery that is used in the parable Jesus told in the Gospel today, is found throughout the Holy Scriptures. The wedding “language” when used, is always meant to point out to us, in familiar terms, the intimacy of our Heavenly Father’s call to salvation in and through Jesus Christ. This call to eternal Salvation and happiness in His Heavenly Kingdom (which subsist fully in the Catholic Church) extends to every single person on the face of the earth. It is God Himself, who always initiates this call. While God extends salvation to all, although as is apparent from today’s parable, sadly not all will accept this invitation.
Last Sunday’s Gospel points out that God had prepared His vineyard, which was the House of Israel, for the eventual coming of His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. The Father continually cultivated the land of the vineyard of Israel by sending the prophets to prepare the soil of the hearts of the tenants, the people of Israel, for the Good News of salvation and liberation from their sins. And of course, as the parable of last Sunday told us, not only did they kill all the prophets the Father sent, in the end, they also kill the Son, the heir of the kingdom when they crucified Jesus Christ on the Cross outside the vineyard walls, that is outside the city of Jerusalem. The Catholic Church is today this vineyard.
In today’s parable, the Father invites the people to a great Wedding Banquet. A wedding banquet that came about by the very death of His Son—Jesus Christ. It was a Wedding that began when Jesus’ bride-the Church, was formed out of His pierced side. Our Father invites all peoples to come to this Wedding. It is in fact, the Wedding of all weddings, to which all earthly weddings point. It is THE place where God doesn’t just want to offer us salvation, but THE place where, through Jesus Christ is Son, He literally wants to marry our soul and make it one with Him.
This Wedding Banquet to which all people are invited is non other than the Holy Mass, the Holy Eucharist. The Holy Eucharist is the salvation of the world because it is Jesus Christ; along with His once and for Sacrifice for us. Because Jesus loves us so much, He didn’t want his sacrifice of love for us to end. He wanted it to continue, to be made present on earth untill the end of time. He loved us so much that he wanted to continue to pour out His unfathamable love and mercy, to continue to offer us His entire self till the end of time.
Jesus is the Bridegroom-God Himself, who comes at every Holy Mass seeking souls to wed. Jesus wants us to become so intimate with Him that He allow us to litterally receive his whole self, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity into ourselves…this is the marital act of the Holy Mass which is the Wedding Feast of the Lamb--Jesus.
In the love between a husband and wife they both desire to become so close, that they could crawl into each other’s heart. Well in the love between Jesus, and us, He allows that very thing to happen. He comes into own hearts but only if we but open the door to him. He says to us, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him and eat with him, and He with me. We open the doors of our heart to the extent we offer our hearts to Him.
The Eucharist is the foretaste of the Heavenly Wedding Banquet. It is literally heaven on earth, althought veiled from our earthly sight.. Even now while we are in this valley of tears, we can come to the Holy Eucharist and participate sacramentally through the eyes of faith in the same banquet as the angels and saints enjoy in heavenly glory-in fact we join with them.
Unfortunately, just as in the parable, many are indifferent to his call. So many in our own day are too caught up in the cares and riches of the world to see the great invitation they are given…one goes to his farm, another to his business. They fail to answer the King’s summons to attend the Banquet or to do so properly prepared and disposed to attend such a great Banquet.
The Lord provides for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wines, the Lord offers the most food, the free gift of his very self. Jesus offer to us His everything, but all too often He is met with only ingratitude and cold hearts. Jesus must have told today’s parable with a sad heart. He must have thought about how God’s love is rejected so many times.. Blessed Francisco, one the little seers of Fatima spend the last years of his short life trying to spend as much time alone in silence to contemplate, through faith, the face of God. He discovered that there was a saddness to God’s face because of the lack of love of so many human hearts; especially a lack of love toward the Holy Eucharist…
Keeping this saddness of God’s face let us reflect on the following.. At this Wedding Banquet (The Holy Mass) do we bring the gifts of our whole self, and do we openly receive the gift of Jesus’ whole self? In other words, the Holy Mass is a Wedding and at a wedding, vows need to be exchanged before the marital act is performed.. Jesus says His “I do” when he says, “This is my Body given up for you…” Do we then try to give Jesus our complete, “I Do,” in response to His, “I do”?” We do this by offering say back to Him, “this is my body given up to you.. I offer you Jesus, my whole heart on altar, through Mary I place it on the paten completely. Only to the extent we give Jesus our heart can our marriage vows be consummated at the reception of His Heart at Holy Communion and bear fruit in our lives and in our world. (Just like a man or a women who doesn’t say “I do” as a gift of their wholeself at their wedding, their wedding cannot be consumated at the marital act.
Some additional reflections on how we may respond to the Father’s invitation to the heavenly banquet. Do we prepare ourselves to be well disposed to the Love that God wants to give us at this Holy Mass. Do we prepared ourselves as we would if we were invited to a king’s wedding feast (because it is THE KING”S Wedding Feast), or do we attend as if it was just a casual event, not really special in anyway or just as another thing we have to do. Do we follow the Church’s precepts and laws on receiving Holy Communion such as the one hour fast before receiving? Have we cleaned our souls as well as our bodies, in the sacrament of confession or do we receive the King, with serious sin on our souls? Do we dress the part of going to the King’s Feast, not only in our exterior dress, but also by our interior dress of humility and purity of heart? Along with our exterior dress befitting of a royal wedding, are we wearing a interior wedding dress of charity toward our bothers and sisters? It was the garment of charity that the guest in the parable failed to have; in other words, his soul was not in the state of grace and he was promply asked to leave.
Let us ask the Holy Spirit to help us make better use of the gifts, or the graces that Jesus gives us at this His Wedding feast, allowing Him to come fully into our hearts that we may be consumed by His Love and transformed by the Holy Spirit into living instruments of His love and Divine Mercy. Then as we go into the mainroads in our daily lives and seek to invite every one we can find to the wedding they will see the love of God, and the image of the bridegroom Jesus Christ in us and as result respond as well to the Father’s heavenly invitation. We will then bear the fruit of the Holy Eucharist and bring them to share in the joy of the Feast and thus share in the salvation of Jesus Christ. And then together we all will be in the Joy of the Heavenly banquet which is the Holy Mass and the Holy Eucharist unveiled for all eternity, the full consumation of the marriage of the soul with the Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Let us ask as well today, in this month of Our Lady of the Rosary, the mother of the bridegroom to help us become better prepared to attend this great wedding banquets so we may transform our world.