Newsletter — Twenty-Eighth Sunday of the Year A 15th October 2023
In today’s First Reading we read from Isaiah 25:6-10: The Lord will provide richly for his people.
The Responsorial Psalm is from Psalm 23: The Lord is our shepherd.
Our Second Reading is Philippians 4:12-14,19-20: Paul tells the Philippians that God provides whatever he needs.
This Sunday’s Gospel Reading is Matthew 22:1-14: Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a wedding feast.
Immediately after criticizing the religious leaders through the parable of the tenants in last Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus proceeded to tell another parable, again directed at the religious leaders. We hear this parable in today’s Gospel.
The parable Jesus tells is straightforward. The king dispatches his servants to invite the guests to the wedding feast that he is planning for his son. The listeners would have been surprised to learn that the first guests refused the invitation. Who would refuse the king’s invitation? A second dispatch of servants follows. Again to the listeners’ great surprise, some guests ignore the invitation. Some of the invited guests even go so far as to mistreat and kill the servants. The king invokes his retribution against these murderers by destroying them and burning their city.
With the invited guests now deemed unworthy to attend the king’s wedding feast, the servants are sent to invite whomever they can find. The guests arrive, but it appears that accepting the king’s invitation brings certain obligations. The guest who failed to dress in the appropriate wedding attire is cast out of the feast. We are reminded that while many are invited to the kingdom of heaven, not all are able to meet its requirements. God invites us to his feast, giving us his salvation. Yet he asks us to repent for our sins.
Jesus’ message in the parable cautions against exclusive beliefs about the kingdom of heaven. The parable also teaches about humility. Those who assume that they are the invited guests may find that they have refused the invitation, and so others are invited in their place. To accept the invitation is also to accept its obligations. God wants our full conversion in complete acceptance of his mercy.