TWENTY-EIGTH SUNDAY A: HOMILY by Fr. Matthias Lusembo
THEME: GOD IS INVITING US TO THE HEAVENLY FEAST
Objective of the homily is that we go with the proper garment
In the first reading (Is 25:6-10), God promises to make a feast for all peoples, a feast which will reveal that all peoples are brothers and sisters in God the Father, a banquet to celebrate permanent victory over spiritual death, a feast in which all miseries and tears will be wiped away from all faces.
In the Gospel (Mt 22:1-14) Christ shows the actualization of the promised feast. It is a wedding between Christ and the Church. It is a feast of reconciliation between God and His people and reconciliation of people to one another.
So, it is a feast of victory by Christ the Savior and the entire family of God over evil. God’s children are expected to celebrate the defeat of hatred, wars and quarrels, the defeat of injustice, poverty, anxiety, racism, addictions, inferiority complex, fear, stress and any misconduct.
They are to celebrate the triumph of love of God and neighbor. Through the prophets, God first invites the Israelites to that celebration. Many of them turn down His invitation, because they are still preoccupied with materialism, hatred and wars. They go as far as despising and beating up God’s messengers.
Then God turns and invites us non-Israelites to the same feast. God invites us out of love and sympathy. We are the ones to gain. People who reject God’s invitation to the heavenly banquet are the people who have directly or indirectly decided to go to hell.
Personally, I do not believe that God forces people into heaven or hell, but that people can choose either to go to the heavenly banquet or to hell. It is like someone choosing to go for earthly leisure instead of coming to Mass. One may oppose me by quoting today’s Gospel on the guest whom the host ordered to be bound and thrown outside the banquet hall.
The reaction of the host implies that the wedding garments were available at the entrance to the banquet hall, but one guest refused to put it on, like people who ignore the available sacraments of Baptism and Reconciliation, which dress guests with the wedding garment, the necessary sanctifying grace and yet come in to partake of the Eucharistic banquet.
The heavenly wedding feast is prefigured in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. We are all invited to the Eucharistic celebration, which prepares us for the heavenly feast. But, to partake of the Holy Communion, we must be dressed in a befitting garment: The Sanctifying Grace. This implies preparation of our souls through baptism and confession. In addition to this we need also to consider the corporal dresses. Do we always dress in a way that befits the Eucharistic Banquet? In order to get the point, ask yourself: Is this the way I would dress, if I were to be invited to the banquet of the National President? In any case, let us accept God’s invitation to the heavenly feast and use the available commandments and sacraments to dress up for it.
We need to remember that the bride at the wedding feast of Jesus is the Church. It is us. Jesus who started the engagement with humanity by becoming a human being, ratifies and consummates the marriage when we receive his body and blood. It is an indispensable wedding for those who want to live in heaven, because Jesus declares, in John 6:53-54: “If you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you will not have life in yourselves. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life and I will raise them to life on the last day.” So, let us always come to the heavenly feast to get the divine DNA, without which we cannot have eternal life.