Dear One and All, I appologise for not sending you the Readings etc last night. Would you believe that I was editing the last sentence, and I hit two keys at once and immediately sent off my posting with all the pics etc into some supernova in a distant Galaxy. I was not in the mood to sing: ‘ Click go the shears…..’, so tonight, I must be careful not to make the same mistake 😦
CONTENTS OF THIS SECTION
- Readings for the Sunday.
- Reflective Questions. For private or group use.
- Focusing the Gospel.
- Connecting the Gospel.
- Understanding Scripture.
- Web News!
- A realhomilie from Fr.Kev
SUGGESTION BEFORE YOU READ THE SCRIPTURES TODAY.
Try not to read just to read it and get through it. Got my drift? We can do this so easily. Take the Readings slowly….as you read, you might like to read it aloud. The sounds of the words help us concentrate and it helps us reflect as we read. Try and be aware of your breathing before you even start….it is better to be at 5 k.p.h that 50! Enable words and meanings to gently jump out at you….soothingly take note in your mind as to what teases you as you read and see God’s Word. Don’t forget that the First Reading is always linked to the Gospel…..see if you can pick up the links.
First Reading: Isaiah 25:6-10
On this mountain,
the Lord of hosts will prepare for all peoples
a banquet of rich food, a banquet of fine wines,
of food rich and juicy, of fine strained wines.
On this mountain he will remove
the mourning veil covering all peoples,
and the shroud enwrapping all nations,
he will destroy Death for ever.
The Lord will wipe away
the tears from every cheek;
he will take away his people’s shame
everywhere on earth,
for the Lord has said so.
That day, it will be said: See, this is our God
in whom we hoped for salvation;
the Lord is the one in whom we hoped.
We exult and we rejoice
that he has saved us;
for the hand of the Lord
rests on this mountain.
This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 22
R. I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.
The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Fresh and green are the pastures where he gives me repose.
Near restful waters he leads me, to revive my drooping spirit. R.
He guides me along the right path; he is true to his name,
If I should walk in the valley of darkness no evil would I fear.
You are there with your crook and your staff; with these you give me comfort. R.
You have prepared a banquet for me in the sight of my foes.
My head you have anointed with oil; my cup is overflowing. R.
Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me all the days of my life.
In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell for ever and ever. R.
Second Reading: Philippians 4:12-14. 19-20
I know how to be poor and I know how to be rich too. I have been through my initiation and now I am ready for anything anywhere; full stomach or empty stomach, poverty or plenty. There is nothing I cannot master with the help of the One who gives me strength. All the same, it was good of you to share with me in my hardships. In return my God will fulfil all your needs, in Christ Jesus, as lavishly as only God can. Glory to God, our Father, for ever and ever. Amen.
This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God
Gospel: Matthew 22:1-14
Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people: ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a feast for his son’s wedding. He sent his servants to call those who had been invited, but they would not come. Next he sent some more servants. “Tell those who have been invited,” he said, “that I have my banquet all prepared, my oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, everything is ready. Come to the wedding.” But they were not interested: one went off to his farm, another to his business, and the rest seized his servants, maltreated them and killed them. The king was furious. He dispatched his troops, destroyed those murderers and burnt their town. Then he said to his servants, “The wedding is ready; but as those who were invited proved to be unworthy, go to the crossroads in the town and invite everyone you can find to the wedding.” So these servants went out on to the roads and collected together everyone they could find, bad and good alike; and the wedding hall was filled with guests. When the king came in to look at the guests he noticed one man who was not wearing a wedding garment, and said to him, “How did you get in here, my friend, without a wedding garment?” And the man was silent. Then the king said to the attendants, “Bind him hand and foot and throw him out into the dark, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.” For many are called, but few are chosen.’
This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
How about going back to the First Reading and see if the link between it and the Gospel becomes more evident to you.
REFLECTIVE QUESTIONS::::::: POINTS TO PONDER
‘Lord, what are you saying to me through your
Holy Word today?’
- Isaiah has a special section in chapters 24-27 known as the ‘Isaiah Apocalypse’. A vision is shared of how God will eventually save us. For the many who are poor, rich food and fine wine at a banquet became a symbol of ‘heaven’. This will take place through a mountain ‘Jerusalem’ where a message of victory over death and tears and shame will be proclaimed. Can you see this message being fulfilled in the Cross on a Jerusalem Hill? In the Eucharistic Banquet? In the Church – the ‘New Jerusalem’?
- Listen deeply to the feelings in the Isaiah text. It is painting a picture of hope for God’s people. What image and feeling speaks more deeply to you? Why?
- While still in prison St Paul receives a gift of money from the Christian community at Philippi. He normally discourages gifts to be given to him. But he is thankful of this expression of love and support. Paul shares he has ‘learnt a secret’. He lives attached only to Christ. He is free. Have you experienced living ‘humbly’ and also ‘in abundance’? What did the experience teach you?
- The Gospel of Matthew continues with ‘judgment parables’ (the two sons, the vineyard, and now the ‘wedding banquet’). Even today it is a great honor to receive a wedding invitation. What thoughts and feelings are present when you open a wedding invitation? Why would you ‘refuse to come’? Why have the chief priests and elders ‘refused’?
- In a shame / honor culture, the King has been highly insulted when those invited refuse to attend. ‘Burned their city’ could be Matthew’s attempt at explaining the fire destroying Jerusalem in 70 AD. God’s invitation into relationship with Him is thrown open to all (gentiles, sinners, the poor, those living on the streets…) bad and good alike. Consider the honor of God. Do you painstakingly search and urgently invite people to Mass so the ‘hall can be filled with guests’?
- The invited guest being thrown out challenges our expectations for a ‘nice ending’ to the story. In the Book of Revelation the ‘white wedding garment’ is a symbol of the good deeds of the saints who persevered in faith and works of love and service. It seems that all are invited to the eternal wedding, but it is not sufficient to just ‘turn up’. To be ‘chosen to enter’ requires a life turned around to ‘good deeds’. Can I see the distinction between ‘faith’ and ‘works’?
- A judgment parable forces a crisis. Am I ‘in’ or ‘out’? It shakes the comfortable and those ‘presuming’ eternal life is theirs by ‘right’. How does this parable challenge / judge you?
- What is one action that you will do to ‘live-the-word’ this week?
Focusing the Gospel
Key words and phrases
The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a feast for his son’s wedding.
Go to the crossroads in the town and invite everyone you can find to the wedding.
How did you get in here, my friend, without a wedding garment?
Bind him hand and foot and throw him out into the dark.
The Lord will prepare a feast and will wipe away the tears from every cheek.
I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.
I am able to do all things in him who strengthens me.
To the point
Although the king’s feast is prepared and invitations are sent, the presence of guests at the feast isn’t assured. It is scandalous enough that some invited guests give lame excuses and don’t come; it is even more scandalous that others who are invited kill the messengers. None of this deters the king: the feast will be served, a place is reserved. Will we come?
Connecting the Gospel
To the first reading
The first reading places the gospel’s wedding feast in an eschatological context where God provides abundantly for all, death is destroyed, tears are wiped away, and there is rejoicing and gladness in being saved.
On special occasions we hire caterers who charge by the plate. When guests don’t show up, the host or hostess is charged nonetheless and suffers a loss. When we refuse to come to God’s banquet, the loss is not God’s but ours!
The first reading, psalm, and gospel for this Sunday all present banquets. In general banquets feature abundant food of the highest quality. They are usually associated with times of security and joy. All these features lend themselves to seeing banquets as metaphors for divine blessings, and ultimately for the great heavenly banquet.
In Psalm 23 (22) the psalmist is dwelling in the house of the Lord (= Temple); the Lord, acting as the gracious host, spreads the table and fills the wine cup until it overflows (23:5).
In the first reading the banquet takes place ‘on this mountain’ (Isaiah 25:6a), namely, Mount Zion, home of the Temple. Again, the Lord, acting as host, provides ‘juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines’ (25:6b). There are two noteworthy features of this banquet. First, this passage comes from ‘The Little Apocalypse of Isaiah’ (Isaiah 24 – 27). These chapters are among the very last portions of the book to have been written and their overall subject matter is the end times which bring final judgment – reward to the righteous and punishment to the wicked. Thus, this is not just any extravagant feast; it is the feast God provides in the Age to come when death is destroyed forever, sorrow is no more (25:8), and people are saved (25:9). Second, it is a feast which God will provide ‘for all peoples’ (25:6, 7), not just faithful Israelites.
In the gospels Jesus is often presented at table, sometimes for private affairs with wealthy friends such as Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42), sometimes with powerful people of note such as Zacchaeus (Luke 19:2-10) or religious notables such as Simon the Pharisee (Luke 7:36ff.); most often, however, he eats with ‘tax collectors and sinners’ (Matthew 9:10; 11:19). These meals are parables-in-action for they; too, tell us what ‘the kingdom of heaven is like.’
This Sunday’s parable uses the banquet as a metaphor for salvation history. Those initially invited (Israel) reject the servants of the king (prophets), are judged (their city is destroyed), and everyone else (Gentiles) is invited in. These, too, will be judged according to their deeds (proper garments).
A realhomilie for the 28th Sunday Year A.
Dear One and all,
We have fantastic Readings this Sunday absolutely packed with meaning when they were written, and for today and for all times. God’s Word is evergreen, and it is for all seasons. Now let’s go deep sea diving into The Word. As you come to think of it, it is deeply engraved into our human nature to get together not only for important times of celebration, but I suppose we could say, ‘who needs an excuse to meet each other?’ And that’s so true! Even when we meet people at the Shopping Centre, so often we say, ‘let’s have a coffee?’ We sit and chat, share stories and even times like, ‘remember when?’ yarns. It is a natural ritual that we do to reconnect, celebrate and renew friendship. In the Scriptures, so often we see the Lord God using these same human rituals to celebrate and signify a deeper relationship…..may I say a Marriage relationship? In Scripture, God is always the Bridegroom, and we are the Bride…..yes, men and women, we are the Bride. So when we look at, and respond to God’s constant invitation into union with Him, the Bible is the greatest love story ever told! But because God’s Word is evergreen, it is continually being told.
Now let’s look at the first reading, we see something deeply special…..The Lord God summons His people to the mountain! What transpires on the Mountain (Mt Zion) is ‘Holy’…’Sacred’ ‘deeply wholesome’. The Mountain is not Holy; it’s what is shared on that Mountain which makes it Holy. In Isaiah, as I have referred to in the notes is a kind of ‘end time’ celebration. In other words, it celebrates what is, in its final fulfilment, or as in the Book of Revelation, we see it as the Banquet, par excellence, when all is one in God! Getting a bit deep, eh? Time for Coffee! Notice that this special banquet has some finality about it in more ways than one. The Invitation is serious, it is an open invitation to all, it has happened in part, continually happens in part, and will one day be complete. When the Lord God speaks; it is always fulfilled, and we are mostly in the process of that fulfilment. When will that happen? When the sentiments in The Lord’s Prayer are fulfilled as we pray….thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. So what is our God given Mission? To play our part as the New Israel/ The Church, to bring Heaven to Earth!
Now, after reflecting on some of those points, it is little wonder that Psalm 22 is chosen as our community response to the first reading….I shall live in the House of the Lord, all the days of my life! What a Twitter message is that!
Now, this theme is taken up in the Gospel and taken a few steps forward by Jesus. Let’s also remember that this Gospel text was written many years after oral tradition had passed the elements of this story on to others. The Gospel Community are looking backwards through the Pentecost and Resurrection experiences. Israel, in the main, had rejected the King’s Invitation, and many had failed to listen to the Prophet’s and Jesus Himself. It was now thrown open to all, which the early Church had to grapple with; namely the Gentiles are to be missioned! The poor chap who didn’t have a wedding garment…..what’s that all about? There is more to this than meets the eye! Firstly, the invitation was not to just some ‘bite on the run’, it was a Wedding given by the King! Everyone knew that you just don’t turn up without one’s inner dispositions in order, even though it was a bit of a rush! This can happen at any time for us? Let alone all the excuses for not taking up the precious invitation when it is issued to us. Making excuses can be a problem and a theme that can easily set in…….and I am not absenting myself for it either….I have put together a little check list for me and for you…..
TO DO CHECK LIST:
There is that email letter I know that I should write, but just now I’m just not in
There is that sick person I know I should visit, but right now my favourite TV
programme: Keeping up Appearances is due to start in 5 minutes.
- I know I need to pray, but I just don’t seem to be able to find time for it.
I know I should make an effort to get to Mass on time (or just to get to Mass at
all) but something always gets in the way, and somehow I am sort of pleased
about the outcome.
I know that I should be more charitable towards X, but I just can’t summon up the
will to make the effort.
I know that dishonesty is wrong, but I tell myself that everybody does it, and
what I do is minor compared to what others are up to.
I know I don’t do my job as well as I should, but why should I break my back when
others aren’t pulling their weight?
I know that I should go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation at the Church, but I
just can’t be bothered…the list goes on…..
Behold, I stand at the door and knock……whoever hears my voice and opens the door…..I will come in and Dine with them, and they with me says the Lord…….Revelation 3:20.
Let us share this meal with hearts unlocked, remembering the word of Jesus, ‘ I will be with you soon’, and let us with one voice answer, ‘Come, Lord Jesus!’
God Bless you and your families,