Bulletin: October 11, 2020
Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Today’s readings do nothing less than reveal the secret to happiness. To whet our appetite, Isaiah describes what paradise feels like: “a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich foods, and pure, choice wines.” In this paradise, says Isaiah, God dries our tears and puts an end to death. The psalm response lures us with its own descriptive words for paradise: restful, refreshing, fearless, overflowing. Just when all of these extravagant images seem too good to be true, Saint Paul’s letter brings us down to earth. Paul is confident that he will one day be in heaven, but he knows just as certainly that he is not there yet. His “secret” to happiness is to trust in God’s providence under every earthly circumstance. Echoing Isaiah’s images of paradise, the Gospel promises that the Lord has invited us all to the heavenly feast. Like Paul, may we respond with trusting hearts.
DESTROYING MURDERERS, BURNING CITIES
Jesus’ parable of the king’s wedding feast sounds extreme to our modern ears. After all, if a king—a beloved celebrity, say—were to invited us to his son’s party, which one of us would refuse, much less murder the messenger? In Matthew’s Gospel, the chief priests and elders obstinately refuse to acknowledge Jesus’ mission as the anointed Son of God. Today’s parable suggests that God will punish this stubbornness by burning their city. The extreme violence of this parable seems to be aimed at Jesus’ stubborn first-century audience, but falls short of hitting us.
RESTORING RELATIONSHIPS, BUILDING BRIDGES
Instead of dismissing or quaintly smiling at today’s parable, we can let the word of God work in our hearts. Jesus, who is the Word of God, exists in all time and knows each of us intimately. He speaks to us today through this very parable. The king’s invitation applies to us. The Creator of the universe calls us, and we must respond. Eternal life is at stake.
Today’s liturgy is a rich opportunity to identify the invitation extended by God. The liturgy itself is our collective glimpse into heaven. Perhaps the Lord is calling us to be more attentive to the liturgy, or to enter more deeply into a parish’s weekend experience. Or perhaps our liturgical prayer time today will reveal a call to service, an invitation to care intentionally for strangers in need or for people we know. Perhaps, too, we might discern a call to repair brokenness. Most of us do not witness murder or burning cities on a daily basis, but we surely know of relationships in need of repair. Once we hear the invitation to reconcile with others, we can pray for the strength to respond. Instead of ignoring the summons by filling our time with busyness, we can ask the Lord to help us apologize, or forgive, or begin a difficult conversation. “Many are invited,” Jesus tells us. He will help us respond.