Can we rejoice in and prepare for being called to the perfect banquet?
by Sister Mary Kabat
It would be good to read Sunday’s first Scripture reading from Isaiah 25:6-10a before reading my reflection. The reading brought tears to my eyes. First, I felt so moved by the generosity of God as described in this passage. God who is providing the people with the best food and wines, God who is removing all that blinds and separates the people from God’s love, God who is destroying death and drying our every tear. And the people cry out in joy, “Behold our God…let us rejoice and be glad that God has saved us!”
Second, I felt tears because this passage is so far from what we see in our world and on television each day – we see people who are hungry, people who are suffering sickness and pain of many kinds, people who are experiencing war, natural disasters and violence, people who are enduring separation or choosing to be separated from God and loved ones.
The Gospel passage from Matthew 22:1-14 is more realistic to what we see in our world. God is inviting the chosen guests – those who know God or the son – to come to the banquet. But the guests either ignore the servants bringing the happy invitation or worse, do them harm. God does not let the behavior of the invited cancel the feast of love; instead, God seeks others to come and celebrate, to put on the garment of joy. Yes, one guest refuses the garment and is cast out into the darkness to join all those who refused the invitation to share in God’s feast, to answer God’s call. We always have a choice!
"May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our hearts,
so that we may know what is the hope that belongs to our call."
Gospel Acclamation, Ephesians 1:17-18