Twenty Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A), October 12, 2014 – Is 25, 6-10a; Phil 4, 12-14. 19-20; Mt 22, 1-14
God will fully supply whatever you need (Phil 4, 19)
God invites us to a sumptuous banquet. Do we accept the invitation with respectful gratitude?
The banquet is an image of the heavenly kingdom that Jesus ushers in and to which he calls us solely by his grace and without partiality. Many prophets and righteous people longed, during their lifetime, to hear the call and see the inauguration of the kingdom, but what they longed for was not granted them. So, blessed are we, for we see and hear Jesus invite us. All the more reason we have, then, to say yes and render him the respect he deserves.
To be part of the kingdom means intimate fellowship with the Lord and unsurpassable and inexhaustible abundance. It is to dwell with the Shepherd who strengthens the weak, enlightens the uncertain and troubled, and prepares a banquet for his chosen ones even in a hostile environment. If God is with us, we will lack nothing and will be invincible.
It is in our best interest to belong to the kingdom. One must take care, then, about seeking one’s own advantage, which often leads to insensitivity to the one who invites. No interest should be put ahead of God’s kingdom; the claim of the kingdom is absolute.
No, we cannot sacrifice on the altar of unfettered capitalism or unsustainable consumerism the life, the freedom, the happiness and the dignity of people, even of those who are deemed without value or use, but are precious in God’s eyes. We cannot put up, in the name of human law and homeland security, walls that exclude, forgetting that “we must obey God rather than men.” Those entrenched in their exclusivism, capitalist, consumerist or of any kind, hardly heed calls to liberality.
We cannot be infected either with affluenza. Too affluent, we become incapable of telling right from wrong and remain numb to the exploitation of workers or the defrauding of the widows, orphans and foreigners. We are forbidden to oppose, insult, persecute, calumniate or demonize those who live and preach the truth, justice, love, mercy and faithfulness.
And authentic participation in the Eucharistic banquet is the proof of acceptance of the invitation. Such participation means welcoming everybody, especially the poor, and putting no one to shame. If we now embody the just and supportive love that we hope to enjoy in heaven, then given to us indeed in the Eucharist is a pledge of future glory. St. Vincent de Paul is right in saying that “charity toward the neighbor is an infallible sign of the true children of God,” the true children of the kingdom (Coste XIII:423). Charity is the required wedding garment of respect.
Lord, grant us the grace to accept your invitation and to contemplate you, love you and serve you in the person of the poor.
Ross Reyes Dizon