for Sunday, October 12, 2014
Last Sunday and this Sunday, our Lord Jesus is trying to tell us what the
Kingdom of God is like as we see it on earth. It is not anything that will
immediately make us want to join! Rather, it is a collection of the
outcasts of our world. We should never think of the Kingdom as a place
where only good are. Rather, it is us, who are sinners, who are invited to
the Kingdom, if we want to be part of it.
The challenge last week was accepting God's call. This week, the challenge
is to keep free of all entanglements so that we are free to come to feast
whenever the Lord calls us. It seems strange that the people in the Gospel
do not come to the feast, but they do not recognize what it is that they
are turning down. This can happen also to us, so we need to be alert. So
often in the Gospels, Jesus admonishes us to be alert, to be on the
lookout, to keep vigil - because the Kingdom can come at any time.
Perhaps too often we think that Jesus is referring to the end of the world.
Instead, quite likely, He is referring to the opportunities that we have
each and every day to live the joy of the Kingdom in our love for others.
The first reading today, from the Prophet Isaiah, talks about how God
Himself will prepare a banquet for us. The imagery is wonderful! God will
wipe away all tears! This is surely a sign that those who are invited are
those who are suffering. The suffering that counts in this life is the
suffering that is inevitable as we try to love all others and try not to
put our own interests first.
The second reading today, from the Letter to the Philippians, is also clear
that Jesus is not telling us that life is only about suffering. Saint Paul
tells us: In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the
secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of
being in need.
Thus we need to know how to live in abundance and love others. We need to
know how to have nothing and love others. Life is about loving others and
we must do whatever it takes to love others. Jesus tells us to love our
enemies as ourselves. Jesus tells us that the commandment that counts is
to love God and to love others.
When we return to the Gospel of Saint Matthew, we realize that Jesus really
is calling everyone to come to the feast, to celebrate in the Kingdom.
That call is happening right now, in your life and in my life. We respond
to the call by loving others, no matter how difficult it is. Our wedding
garment is love.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Isaiah 25.6-10a
Second Reading: Philippians 4.12-14, 19-20++
Gospel: Matthew 22.1-14
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: