In the readings for this Sunday, the Church presents us with the image of a wedding feast. A king is preparing to give a feast for his son and he has invited many guests. But now that the feast is ready, his guests refuse to come. Why?
In the first reading, Isaiah speaks of the coming day of the Lord. He says “It will be said on that day, ‘Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.’” (Is 25:9) These words are spoken to God’s people, who have been suffering from the oppression of hostile powers and from their own sin. They come as a promise; God will save them. They have only to wait for Him and rejoice in His salvation when it comes. Seems simple enough. But with waiting comes persevering faithfulness. Despite the mighty wonders God has worked in the life of Israel, they often sought other means of salvation, falling into idolatry. Their life is hard and God’s promise of salvation seems far away. In the gospel then, we can see why the invited guests refused to come. Perhaps impatient with waiting, they seek the bridegroom and his feast in the trivial things of their life.
How do we respond to God’s invitation to the wedding feast of the Kingdom of God? Do we respond like the first guests, becoming impatient with God’s timing? Or do we respond like the guest without a wedding garment, wanting to come yet unwilling to prepare ourselves? Or do we respond like St. Paul in his letter to the Phillipians: “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound; in any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and want. I can do all things in him who strengthens me”? (Phil 4:12-13) Do we let Jesus, the Good Shepherd, lead us to whatever pastures he desires, though they are in the valley of darkness, faithfully trusting and waiting for him to lead me to greener pastures with him in heaven?
Daniel Phillips – St. Joseph Seminary, Edmonton, Alberta.
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