Dress­ing for the Great Feast

Sun.Star Pampanga - - STORY! -

Down through the ages, God has al­ways called man to a last­ing fel­low­ship with him. He first of­fered the gift of sal­va­tion to his cho­sen peo­ple, the Is­raelites, send­ing prophet after prophet to an­nounce his in­vi­ta­tion. Yet one after an­other his ser­vants, the prophets, were re­jected. Thus, his in­vi­ta­tion was ex­tended to all peo­ples – to the wheat and the weeds, the good and the bad. This is the theme of this Sun­day’s First Read­ing (Isa­iah 25:610) and the Gospel (Matthew 22:114) where the ul­ti­mate union with God is marked by a great wed­ding feast, with God as the king-host, the ser­vants as the prophets and the apos­tles, the first set of in­vi­tees as the na­tion Is­rael, and the sec­ond set as ev­ery man and woman who has ever lived, who lives, and who will live on the face of the earth.

A com­mon re­flec­tion on these read­ings is that sal­va­tion is for all. It is not only for an elite few, but is some­thing avail­able to any­one who will re­spond to God’s call. Isa­iah’s prophecy on the de­struc­tion of the cov­er­ing that is cast over all peo­ples, and of the veil that is cast over all na­tions, has al­ready been ful­filled.

Ful­filled in the com­ing of God’s only be­got­ten Son Je­sus Christ. Ful­filled in his pas­sion, death and res­ur­rec­tion. And brought to a cli­max in the great ban­quet in heaven when all be­liev­ers will be nour­ished by the food that truly sat­is­fies and never spoils, and which sus­tains to eter­nal life.

To at­tend that great feast, we, how­ever, have to be dressed ap­pro­pri­ately for the oc­ca­sion. The man in the gospel who at­tended with­out the proper wed­ding gar­ment was cast into the outer dark­ness where men weep and gnash their teeth.

This gar­ment is not one that is made of fine pearls and jewels, but is sym­bolic of ho­li­ness that must ac­com­pany our re­la­tion­ship with our Sav­ior Je­sus Christ. Ac­cept­ing God’s in­vi­ta­tion to come to his feast is in­deed a gi­ant step to­wards be­ing saved, but we must we be garbed fit­tingly for the feast. Our ac­cep­tance of Je­sus Christ must not be an empty dec­la­ra­tion, but must be one that bears the fruit of right­eous­ness – of faith that man­i­fests it­self in l ove.

In our jour­ney, as the psalmist sings (Psalm 23) in this Sun­day’s liturgy, the Lord him­self is our good shep­herd. With this, like St. Paul, we can claim, “I can do all things in him who strength­ens me” (Philip­pi­ans 4:13).

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