An ECCA Parish
In the care of the Ecumenical Franciscan Order
Homily preached at Winmalee
Br Simeon on Sunday 12th October 2014
EIGHTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST.
Gospel: Matthew 22:1-14
Everything is ready - come!
Lord we thank you for the gift of your Word and as we think on these things open our hearts and minds to hear your word to us. Amen.
My friends, I think, that of all the social and cultural events people can attend, a wedding is the happiest and most joyful. And it's an honour to be extended an invitation to such an important event. It's something to be taken very seriously; because the invitation is a way of expressing that you are important to the one who invited you, and that they desire you to be a part of the happiest day of their lives.
In biblical times, as today, an invitation to a wedding was something to be taken seriously. And the wedding feast in Jesus' parable was to be taken even more seriously by those who had been invited to it; because it was arranged for the son of a king. To be invited to such a feast was a very great honour indeed!
Jesus’ parable of the wedding feast is another illustration of Israel’s rejection of God’s promise. The invitation is therefore extended to everyone -- Gentiles, foreigners and those who do not know God -- to come to the Lord’s table.
Jesus tells a second parable within the parable of the wedding feast. The wedding garment is the conversion of heart and mind required for entry into the kingdom. The Christian who does not wear this mantle of repentance and good deeds will suffer the same fate as those who reject outright the invitation to the wedding. As the apostle Paul writes (Romans 13: 14), we must “put on” the garment of Christ.
God has invited each of us to his Son’s wedding feast – the fullness of God’s life in the resurrection. The only obstacle is our inability to hear his invitation amid the noisy activity that consumes our time and attention.
God invites all his children to his table – distinctions drawn according to economic class or influence, discrimination by race or origin, reservations due to mental or physical ability disappear at the banquet of the Father. In order to be able to take our own place at God’s table, we must first realise God’s vision for the human family at our own tables.
The parables of the king’s wedding feast and wedding garment confront us with the reality that we cannot be Christian without conversion; we cannot come to the feast of heaven while remaining indifferent to the empty plates before so many of the world's children; we cannot love the God we cannot see if we cannot love those we can see.
Our lives are pieces of fabric that we piece together to make a garment fitting to wear at God’s wedding banquet. They are made from the fabric of our kindnesses, our caring, our compassion; they are sewed together with the thread of gratitude, respect and humility.
Christ, in the parable of the king’s banquet, calls us to realise that every one of us has a place at God’s table — a table that extends from our own family table in this time and place to God’s great banquet table in the next.