Homily for the twenty-eighth Sunday in the year

Year A  -  Mt. 22:1-14


by

Father Daniel Meynen
 
 

"Again Jesus spoke to the Jews in parables, saying, «The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a marriage feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the marriage feast; but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, `Tell those who are invited, Behold, I have made ready my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves are killed, and everything is ready; come to the marriage feast.' But they made light of it and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, `The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the thoroughfares, and invite to the marriage feast as many as you find.' And those servants went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.

"«But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment; and he said to him, `Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, `Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness;  there men will weep and gnash their teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.'»"



Homily:


"Again Jesus spoke to the Jews in parables, saying, «The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a marriage feast for his son.»"

Once again, as always, Jesus speaks to us of the kingdom of heaven!  This is the most important aspect of his mission:  to show us the way that leads to the kingdom of heaven!  It is true that Jesus did many other things during his life on earth; for instance, he performed numerous miracles.  But these mysterious acts, these deeds which derogate the laws of nature, were carried out by Jesus above all in order to prove that he was, not only a man but, first and foremost, God.  The Christian religion, even if it does watch over the material welfare of the men and women of the entire world, is concerned above all with the eternal well-being of these same men and women, to which it addresses itself in the name of Christ.  Like Jesus, and in following him, continuing on with the unique mission of the Savior of mankind, the Church proclaims the kingdom of heaven which is to come!

"The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a marriage feast for his son."  The association between "kingdom" and "wedding feast" brings us directly to the moment of the Parousia, when the Son of God will appear as the bridegroom who comes to celebrate his wedding to the Church, the bride whom he wants to present to himself "in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish" (Eph. 5:27).  When Jesus speaks of the kingdom of heaven and associates it with a wedding feast, already we hear, as in the Eucharistic liturgy, this word of the Apocalypse:  "Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb!" (Rev. 19:9)  The end of time, the return of Christ, is not far away:  we live this event each day, for each day we are invited to tell Christ once again of our fidelity and love through our membership in the Church, the Spouse of the Son of God!

"«He sent his servants to call those who were invited to the marriage feast; but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, `Tell those who are invited, Behold, I have made ready my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves are killed, and everything is ready; come to the marriage feast.' But they made light of it and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them.»"

What is our attitude when we say, each Sunday, in the Creed:  "I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come"?  We are called to believe this with all our heart, but do we really do so?  Are we not often strongly attached to the things of this world, perhaps even to the point of partially denying our faith?  Let us think of the guests in the parable told by the Lord.  All of them had an excuse not to participate in the wedding feast!  All of them were held back by a worldly tie which kept them from the kingdom of heaven!  Each Sunday we proclaim our faith in
Christ's return, but do we really await him with all our heart?

"«The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, `The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the thoroughfares, and invite to the marriage feast as many as you find.' And those servants went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.»"

The judgement of God is near!  Can we foresee the day and the hour of our death?  Each day, God may judge us; each day, we should await the coming of the Lord!  Each day, the Lord tells us anew:  "The marriage feast is ready!"  For, each day, we can take part in the marriage feast of the Lamb in the celebration of the Eucharist.  Each day, the Lord comes to judge us, as Saint Paul said in speaking of the sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ:  "Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.  For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself." (1 Cor. 11:28-29)

"«But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment; and he said to him, `Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, `Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness;  there men will weep and gnash their teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.'»"

In the wedding hall, one man did not wear a wedding garment.  This means that this man did not belong to the Body of Christ, the Church:  this man wore another garment, and in this way he dissociated himself from the other guests, who together formed a single body, the Body of Christ.  Also, this man was thrown outside, in order that all the guests would appear as one single body, united and interdependent, a single Body which forms the Spouse of Christ the Savior.

During the celebration of the Eucharist, let us think of the Lord who comes into his Church, his Body, to lead her to the kingdom of heaven!  Let us celebrate the Wedding of the Lamb with great faith and immense charity!  Let us ask Mary, the Mother of Jesus, to participate like us, and more than us, in the eternal Wedding of the Son of God!