Mission Society of the Philippines

Homilies

28th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME: GOD INVITES US TO THE ESCHATOLOGICAL FEAST IN HEAVEN

Mt 22:1-14

THE PARABLE of the wedding feast summarizes the long history of God’s dealings with man. It is God’s will that all people be saved and come to the knowledge of his truth. He offers to humanity the gift of salvation. He revealed himself to humanity so that the latter would have a share in God’s inner life and salvific blessings. But not all responded positively to his invitation. Among those who rejected his invitation were the Jews, particularly the chief priests and elders of the people to whom the parable was addressed. Jesus was at the point of being arrested by them, but he continued to address them in parables because it is not yet too late for the divine mercy.
 
Let us try to go back to some important moments in the gospel parable. Jesus likened the kingdom of God to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. The wedding feast was the high point of the wedding festivities and it was such a great privilege and honor to be invited to it.
 
Firstly, the invited guests were summoned but they refused to come. Refusal was the response of the invited guests. This was the case of the Jews in relation to words of the prophets. Speaking of invitations, Filipinos seldom refuse invitations. Often, we say “yes” to invitations, even if our “yes” actually means “no”. But it is not good because that is actually a subtle form of refusal. Refusal is a deliberate act of rejection. Like, for instance, the Lord always invites us for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist every Sunday. But even if people have the time, or are free, they prefer to simply remain at home because the Sunday observance appears as something not significant to their life.
 
Secondly, the invited guests were told to come because the wedding feast was ready. But “some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business”. In this second invitation, there was a sense of urgency because the feast was already ready. But, unfortunately, people denied the urgency and they went for some personal business. Again, let us talk about the celebration of the holy Eucharist. Some people do not deliberately refuse, but they simply ignore it. It is not that they find the holy Eucharist as unimportant. It is also important but they find other things or concerns as more important than it. For instance, doing homework, on the part of students, is more important than going to the Mass on a Sunday. Or attending a birthday party is considered as more important than going to the holy Mass. So, there can be wrong priorities in life.
 
Thirdly, since those who were invited were not worthy to come, so the king instructed the servants: “Go out into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find”. So, all the servants gathered all they found, good and bad alike, and these people filled the hall. But when the king came to meet the guests, he noticed a man who did not wear a wedding garment. And, unfortunately, he was punished by the king. What is something special about the garment? The garment that is expected in each one of us refers to a life of conversion, a life that is in accord with the mind of Christ. Yes, sinners are also invited to the kingdom of God or to the eschatological banquet, but first, they need to repent. Jesus loves sinners, but he always makes it a point that they repent. That is the way how Jesus brings them back to the Father. Jesus emphasizes this often during his encounter with sinners. “From now on, sin no more” are the parting words of Jesus to the sinner.
 
We said our “yes” to the invitation of Jesus when we received the sacrament of baptism. But let us try to examine what has happened to that “yes”. It can happen that the “yes” has now been turned into a “no.” If this has happened, let us say sorry to God and we ask for his forgiveness. For us, who sin often, conversion and repentance should always be part of our day-to-day existence. Amen.
 

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