Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Year A 11 October 2020
“For many are called, but few are chosen” Mt. 22:14
In today’s gospel (Mt. 22:1-14), we see the continuation of the previous two Sundays in which Jesus explains how the Kingdom of Heaven is made available to men, but they for various reason do not accept the invitation of God. Two weeks ago we saw how in The Parable of the Two Sons that the Kingdom of heaven would be given to tax collectors and sinners. Last week in The Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers, we saw how the vineyard, that is the kingdom of heaven, will be given to those who bear fruit. And today, we see in The Parable of the Marriage Feast where the king gives a marriage feast for his son and invites guests to it. It is hard to believe that these invited guest would not come! It is easy to see how this relates to the whole history of Jews and to all mankind because men have rejected the appeal of Jesus Christ and have preferred this world to the heavenly kingdom which will last forever. Today’s readings all show us how special is this kingdom and how sad it will be for us if we are not chosen for eternal happiness in heaven.
The Messianic Banquet in Heaven is Forever
In today’s First Reading from Isaiah (25: 6-10), the prophet Isaiah gives us a wonderful picture of the Messianic Kingdom of Sion, the heavenly Jerusalem. It will for all peoples and not just Jews! It will be much more than an earthly banquet because there will be no more death nor any tears! Those taking part in it will rejoice for they will be saved forever. We see from this brief description that the heavenly kingdom will be greater than anything we could imagine. Recall what St. Paul said of heaven: “That eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love him.” I Cor. 2:9 There will be freedom from all cares or worries, no pain, sickness or death and eternal union with all our loved ones and friends. There will be eternal friendship with our Blessed Mother, the angels and saints, and most of all eternal union and love for the Blessed Trinity before whom we will come face to face. What could be more pleasing than this heavenly banquet?
This divine generosity is in the message of the Parable of the Marriage Feast. The generous King (God the Father) is giving a marriage feast for his son. He is so overjoyed at his son’s betrothal that he wants all to share it with others. On a spiritual level, Blessed Don Columba Marmion sees this marriage feast in relation to the Son of God, Jesus Christ who in His divinity espouses our human nature and becomes God and Man “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” Jn. 1:14 On this level then, we can see how overjoyed God the Father is with His Son becoming Man! This certainly is a great mystery of God’s love; however. many of the Jews reject His invitation In Jewish life, the wedding banquet was the high point of the wedding invitation. To reject an invitation was a grave breach of courtesy which could even seen as a hostile act. On another spiritual level, we can see the whole history of salvation; God continually invited the Jewish people to share in the Messianic blessing of Jesus Christ of which Isaiah spoke in today’s First Reading, but they rejected the one true God for the gods of their neighbours. In The Parable of the Marriage Feast, the King (God) sends an invitation to the Jews first through His servants (the prophets), then more servants/prophets and finally He sends His own Son, Jesus Christ whom they crucify because Jesus said that He was the Son of God. These incredible acts of murder show the perversity of the Jews, the invited guests for the marriage feast, who stoned the prophets and crucified Jesus on the cross. Is it any wonder that the God punished the Jews by giving them over to their foreign enemies? For the crucifixion of Jesus, the Jews had said: “His blood be upon us and our children.” Mt. 27:25! No wonder God the Father punished the Jews when He used the Romans to destroy Jerusalem in 70 A D: “...and they shall not leave in thee a stone upon a stone: because thou hast not known the time of thy visitation.” Lk. 19:44
The Necessity of a Wedding Garment
The final spiritual meaning of the parable contains the final end of man. It is the heavenly wedding banquet! All have been invited from the highways and byways of the world. When the King enters into the earthly banquet, he notices that only one has entered without a wedding garment. This certainly was a breach of etiquette! In the spiritual sense, the wedding garment is sanctifying grace which, if we have been baptized, is in our souls without mortal sin. The man had not repented of his mortal sins, and therefore, the king (God) has his feet bound and casts him out into the darkness: “Then the king said to the waiters: Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the exterior darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.” Mt. 22:13-4 No doubt the exterior darkness is hell where unrepentant sinners will go at the end of the of world.
Our Being Chosen is up to us!
The American poet, John Greenleaf Whittier said, “Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, ‘It might have been’!” These are haunting words, but for us now, there is still time to repent of our mortal sins. From the parable, we can see how God the Father has tried to bring us to eternal life in the eternal wedding banquet Let us learn from this important parable that we can all gain eternal salvation if we repent of our sins. At every appearance of Our Lady to the three children at Fatima from May to October 1917, she asked us to pray the rosary. One of the Fifteen Promises (google for the other fourteen) for those who say the rosary is: “The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the Rosary shall not perish.” Our salvation is up to us! Let us be one of the chosen!