2020-10-1128th Sunday in Ordinary TimeRev. Msgr. Michael J. Motta, D.Min.

In ancient times, kings announced the approximate time for a wedding banquet weeks in advance. The exact day of the banquet was given at a later date. To say yes to the advance invitation and no at the later date was an insult.

A modern example will illustrate. Suppose your son is returning home after being out of the country for five years. He is scheduled to arrive sometime next week but he is not sure whether it will be on Thursday or Friday. You call his closest friends and invite them to a welcome home dinner. You explain the situation and ask them to hold both dates open. They agree enthusiastically.

When the news comes that your son will arrive on Friday, you call his friends back and say, "The dinner will be Friday night." They shock you by saying, "Sorry, we`ve made other plans for that night." It was the kind of situation that Jesus had in mind in today`s parable.

So the king fills the hall with substitute guests. He said to his servants, "Go out, therefore, into the main road and invite to the feast whomever you find." The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they could find bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests.

Do you remember this story from a few years back? It was on the news. A young couple called off their wedding but the reception was already paid for. So what did the bride do? You guessed it. She provided a feast for homeless and hungry people in her community. Everybody had a great time and the food was put to good use.

In the parable that Jesus tells, the king stands for God. The wedding feast stands for the kingdom of God. The invited guests stand for the Jewish people.

The substitute guests stand for the sinners and the Gentiles or the non-Jews. The Gentiles are the people who accept the Messiah, Jesus Christ, after the Chosen

People rejected Him. So the Kingdom of God is open to all people, not just the Chosen People. No one is excluded, not even Gentiles.

How does the parable apply to our lives today? For the answer to that question, we turn to the ending of the parable. It describes a substitute guest who is expelled from the feast by the king because he came without a wedding garment. It describes a man who showed up in the same filthy clothes that he wore to clean the barn.

As I understand it, the king would have provided a wedding garment for the man to wear. The wedding garment represents our disposition toward God and our neighbor.

Sometimes people respond to God`s invitation but do not continue to live with Christ. In other words, they no longer have a wedding garment to wear.

I once had a poster with a picture of bread and wine that said:

"Jesus of Nazareth requests the honor of your presence at a banquet to be given in his honor." It is an invitation by Jesus to attend Mass. To accept the invitation is a great honor. To ignore the invitation is unfortunate.

It means that you do not understand what a great gift you have in the Eucharist, which is Christ Jesus Himself.

What can we do to share this great gift? How can we get more people to attend this wedding banquet?

Back to Homilies page