Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:
October 12, A.D. 2008
Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Psalm 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6
Philippians 4:12-14, 19-20
Matthew 22:1-14 or 22:1-10
A reflection on today's Scripture:
Today's first reading is one of the most beautiful in all of Scripture.
It's about a lavish banquet set on a high mountain. God has prepared "juicy, rich food, and pure, choice wines" for all people at the end of the world. No one will be excluded. Isaiah has certainly changed his tune from his former criticism of Israel. Not unusual! The prophets often went from angry denunciations to consoling hope-filled predictions of God's intentions. Just in the telling, it makes our mouths water! In addition, God will remove the veil from all faces, the veil that distorts our vision and embroils us in hateful wars and misunderstandings.
In the Gospel, Jesus tells a parable about a banquet quite similar to the one in Isaiah's prophecy. Here, the King gives a wedding feast for His Son. At first, the guest list is rather limited. When these elite guests (obviously, the Chosen People) refuse the invitation (some of these guests even abuse and kill the messengers), the King sends his soldiers out to compel the whole countryside without distinction to fill his banquet hall.
The parable is directed against the leaders of the Israelites, God's chosen people. Since they have failed to respond to Jesus' preaching, and are even now about to kill Him, all peoples of the earth (the Gentiles) will now be invited to the banquet of eternal life.
Scholars and preachers have puzzled for years over the King's anger at one of the guests who fails to wear a proper garment. One explanation is that wedding attire was readily available as guests entered the hall. This guest showed disrespect for the host by neglecting to procure one.
For us, the banquet symbolizes the Holy Eucharist. The proper wedding attire for God's banquet is to be clothed in a state of grace through Baptism. All who attend Mass with proper dispositions receive immense graces. But to receive fully in Holy Communion, we should always make efforts to be free of sin through proper sorrow and purpose of amendment. This is best done through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Sandwiched in between the first and third readings, is St. Paul's brave hope that he, too, will experience God's "glorious riches" in the midst of his sufferings and imprisonment. The examples of the saints and martyrs of every age can easily shame those of us who live in the midst of plenty, to be much more grateful than we are for the relative comfort of our lives and the few real obstacles we experience in living out our Catholic faith.
As St. Paul encourages the Philippians, so we need to support the millions suffering from lack of both spiritual and bodily nourishment. May our generous response through sharing both our faith and our resources, show them that God is in their midst with His love and caring.
This Sunday's Scriptures urge us to look with new eyes at those around us who God so desires to taste the feast He has prepared. We must include them in our love and invite them to accept the wedding garment of divine grace.
- Msgr. Paul Whitmore |
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lives of the saints:
Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:
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