TWENTY EIGHTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR A
15th October 2023
Isaiah 25:6-10; Philippians 4:12-14,19-20; Matthew 22:1-14.
In today’s gospel, the parable of the rich banquet is used to remind us of the Holy Eucharist. The kingdom of heaven is compared to a banquet prepared by a king in honour of his son’s wedding. The invited guests were too busy to attend. The king was surprised at their contempt. He couldn’t imagine what could be more important than the invitation of the king. Who amongst us will turn down an invitation from His Royal Majesty the King of the United Kingdom? To turn down the invitation from His Majesty will require a lot of courage. To be invited to dine with His Majesty is an elevation of one’s status in the society. With joy and expectancy, one will broadcast the news to all and sundry. Special care will go into selecting the best outfit for the occasion. In our contemporary society, the invitation letter or card will be kept amidst special personal collections. In the contemporary society of social media and monetization, one’s social media account will swell with followers and millions of likes. It will be cherished and counted as one of the best things to happen to one.
The Lord invites us daily to the rich banquet of the Holy Eucharist. According to the first reading, the Lord prepared a banquet of rich food, a banquet of fine wines, of food rich and juicy, of fine strained wines. Some of us treat the Eucharist with contempt by receiving it under mortal sin, like the man who entered the banquet hall without a wedding garment. Some of us just don’t fancy the Eucharist. Some receive it but do not believe in it.
Besides, the Lord extends the invitation to us at the crossroads of life. Amidst the confusions and inconsistencies of life, he invites us to his table. And some of us will be courageous to turn it down. The Holy Eucharist is no ordinary meal. It is a transforming meal. St. Paul wrote in the second reading: There is nothing I cannot master with the help of the One who gives me strength. It is capable of wiping away our tears and shame. Let us brace ourselves and be ready to respond positively to the invitation of the Lord to the eucharist. His grace is enough to strengthen us.
Fr Anthony Ekpunobi, CM.