28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
A woman arrived late for a wedding reception. As she came rushing to the door, an usher asked her for her invitation. “I have none,” she snapped. “Are you a friend of the groom?” the usher asked. “Certainly not!” the woman said vehemently. “I’m the bride’s mother.”
You and I are invited to a wedding feast of joy, and we are the friends of the King. God the Father has prepared a wedding feast for his Son, and we are all invited to this feast. That is the poetic summary of salvation that can be found in the gospel parable that Jesus tells us today. The “wedding feast” is an apt metaphor of the kind of life we will have with God in his kingdom. It connotes union, intimacy and fellowship with God. It is symbolic of the kingdom of God where there is perfect happiness, joy, peace and love.
Isaiah, in today’s first reading, describes God’s feast as “a feast of rich food and choice wines.” No more tears, no more suffering and pain, no death, only rejoicing and life everlasting in this feast. For the Lord has saved us. Today’s responsorial psalm expresses our proper response to the invitation to this feast: “I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.”
James Menapace, in his book Sowing Seeds from the Gospels, has this reflection and commentary in today’s gospel: “Jesus is saying that life is much more than a farm or business.” “It is also a banquet. It is more than a duty to be done. It is a mystery to be celebrated and lived every day.” “So often we become bogged down in the routine of daily living and miss the glory of it all.” “We are so busy with life that we cannot see the forest because of the trees.”
So today’s readings are a powerful way of reminding us that God is inviting us to a real celebration, a banquet fit for a king. Again, all of us are invited to that feast of all feasts. Inaanyayahan tayo sa isang “bonggang-bonggang party.” It is an invitation to life – not a dull, drab or boring life. What is offered to us is the fullness of life – a share in the very life of God. As followers of the Lord Jesus we call it the kingdom of God.
Every minute, every moment, God is inviting us. God, who speaks through all things, is spending his time inviting you and I to this wedding feast. What form might this invitation take? It may take the words of today’s gospel reading or the bible passage that has struck you. It may be an inspirational story you have read on Facebook or a heartening video you have watched on YouTube. It may be a touching homily or a moving sermon you have heard from a preacher or from a priest. It may be a wonderful experience you have had with your family and friends and your heart is filled with joy and gratitude. It may be a holy person who has enlightened you. Maybe that is God inviting you to the wedding feast… inviting you to come, to sit down at his table, to eat and drink with the Father and the Son…inviting you to intimacy and fellowship with God.
The problem with us is that we are too busy trying to get ahead when it is already given. When we say our yes to the invitation to life we say yes to our God. It means letting go of all our worries and anxieties, of all our doubts and hesitations, of all our insecurities and uncertainties, of all our self-centeredness and our need to get ahead of others. We quit acting like God and finally let God be God for us. In other words, we do what we can to make the kingdom of God a concrete and practical reality in our everyday lives.
Everyday you and I are invited to a more enriching and fulfilling way of life. The Lord of Life is just waiting for our personal response. Everything is ready. Do you need to be forgiven of your faults and failures? Come to the feast, and receive God’s mercy and forgiveness. Do you need someone to love you even when you think you are unlovable? Come to the feast, and experience God’s unconditional love. Do you need to be needed, to find purpose and meaning for life? Come to the feast, and share in God’s life and learn to participate in Christ’s mission. Are you hungry for something more than what the world has to offer? Come to the feast, and feed on God’s Word, take the Christ’s Body, share in the banquet of life. Is your heart troubled, your mind exhausted, your body tired? Come to the feast, and be refreshed, be restored. Indeed, everything is ready. Come to the feast. God is more than ready.