COME LETS SHARE IN THE BANQUET OF THE LORD
????Isa 25:6-10a; Psalm 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5-6 (R.6cd); Phil 4:12-14, 19-20; Matt 22:1-14
It is a day of the banquet, a day of assurance and hope. It shows us that the end time would, after all, be a time of joy and merriment. In the First Reading, the prophet Isaiah saw a vision of a rich meal which is prepared for all peoples on a mountain. Jesus tells a parable in the Gospel which presents the banquet as already going on. The very big cause for joy in this is that this banquet is meant for all. Nobody is exempt from it; we are all invited. But the big question remains, are we ready for the banquet?
There are a number of things that can help us evaluate our preparedness for that banquet. The prophet Isaiah said that it is going to take place on a mountain. Everyone who wishes to partake of it must climb must then need to be fit. Note that most mountains in Israel are very high and difficult to climb. We can immediately point out about three problems that can hinder one from making it to the top of that mountain:
????Obesity: By this, we do not refer to a physical state but a spiritual condition where materialism has taken a better part of the person involved. The person is overtaken by worldly affairs that he is not able to take care of his spiritual life.
????Rheumatism: This points to sin, which deforms us and makes us unable to walk up the mountain.
????Hypertension: This covers the people who are weighed down by their weakness and past mistakes and so think that they are ‘never-do-wells’ and that God can never forgive them. They invariably (even if it is unintentional) reject the love and mercy of God which could keep them going.
The people in those categories and others like them must try and meditate on the psalmists views on the Shepherd as recorded in the Responsorial Psalm of today (Psalm 23) and then renew their trust in God and purge themselves of the things that are not of God. They should be encouraged with the words of the prophet that, The Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth (Isa 25:8), and that of St Paul in the Second Reading, God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:19).
All we need to do is to make good effort to climb the mountain for the banquet, wearing a wedding garment of righteousness, and then praying to God to grant us the necessary strength to carry on, because, cut off from him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). May God help us to make it up to that mountain, which is the kingdom of heaven. Amen.
Peace be with you.