Fr. Bloomfield's Blog

I am a Roman Catholic Priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit, currently assigned to Divine Child Parish in Dearborn, Michigan. When I manage to keep the page updated, hopefully something interesting can be found here!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Homily for the Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

“Come to the feast.” The king invites his chosen guests to a wedding banquet in honor of his son. Come to the feast.

We, likewise, are invited to this feast, a feast described by the prophet Isaiah, of “rich food and choice wines.” We catch just a glimpse of the glory of heaven, the joy and splendor of the Wedding Banquet of the Lamb. What anticipation, what motivation we should have to drive us toward that feast.

This feast, in the gospel parable and in the first reading, might tempt us to think of the Kingdom of Heaven as something distant, foreign, or only in the future. Maybe it’s just a great “rewards program” like our credit cards have, ready to be cashed-in when we die. Until then, life is simply one cross after another, bearing the burden of life, with no joy. Christ desires to already fill us with every good gift; he desires to fill us with His riches – the riches of the Spirit, the fruit of His victory.

These fruits are present now, in our short earthly lives, through grace; but we also anticipate a future in which “The Lord God will wipe away the tears from every face; he will destroy death forever.” This future is the wedding feast of the Lamb of God, of which we read in the Book of Revelation. This nuptial banquet begins here, at the Altar of Sacrifice, from which we receive the Body and Blood of our Lord. In fact, when the priest elevates the Body and Blood, saying, “This is the Lamb of God,” the Latin reminds of the connection to our Sacramental Banquet and the Eternal Banquet: “Blessed are those called to the Banquet of the Lamb.” Every gift and grace is offered to us here.

But in order to receive, we must respond to the invitation, which each of us has received: Come to the feast. Come to the feast.
Sadly, like some in the parable, we reject the banquet. “It can’t be that great,” we think. Other aspects of life distract us: one left to his farm, the other to his business. What pursuits distract us from seeking the Kingdom? What pursuits distract us from answering the invitation to the Banquet? Do we refuse to come? Do we not heed the invitation, seeking created goods, missing the greatest gift offered to us: God Himself!

Some, according to the parable, kill the messengers, and they are destroyed by the king. How do we reject the teachings of the Church, meant to invite us to the Banquet of God’s Love?

Finally, the conclusion to the parable certainly may confuse us. In ancient cultures, guests were provided a garment by the host of the feast. When we hear of the poor man, invited after the other guests, arriving unprepared, we might side with him. After all, he wasn’t prepared to attend a feast – he didn’t expect an invitation. But when we understand that preparation was offered to him when he arrived, we understand why he was reduced to silence. He had refused to accept the garment of the wedding guest, that would mark him as an approved guest.

Do we reject our own wedding garment, even as we accept the invitation to the Feast? Do we adequately prepare ourselves for the Sacrifice of the Mass – the Banquet of the Lamb, or do we desire to come to the Feast to take the food, but not to share of ourselves? To not share in the Sacrifice of the Lamb?

The Mass is a Sacrificial Banquet; it prepares us for the Banquet of eternity. By consuming the Body and Blood of Christ, we witness and accept His Sacrifice in our life. We already have all the Graces of heaven here before us. If only we would answer our invitation and prepare ourselves to partake of the rich fare He offers.

Come to the Feast. Come to the Feast.