My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,1
Our readings this morning are filled with hope and joy, with the promises of our redemption, the promise of the Kingdom that is coming.
In the Gospel and in the first reading, the Kingdom of heaven is described as a great banquet, a wedding feast that all are invited to.
And I think at this moment in the world and our society — the reality of our world — these readings should encourage us, and give us hope. These months of the coronavirus pandemic have been dark. There’s been so much disruption, so much sickness and sadness, so many people dying. And it just keeps continuing, it is difficulty to imagine when it will end.
But today, God is telling us that he has not forgotten his covenant, he has not turned his back on his people. He is still the Lord of the nations, the Lord of all peoples.
The prophet Isaiah reminds us in the first reading that we heard — that our destiny is one of glory. As he tells us:
He will destroy death forever.
The Lord God will wipe away
the tears from every face.
On that day it will be said:
“Behold our God …
let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!”
My brothers and sisters, our God is coming to save us, my brothers and sisters. And he will come! He is never far from us. And we can trust in the Lord. The tears that our world is weeping, he will turn them to rejoicing. All this death that has been surrounding us — it will not have the final word in God’s creation.
This is our beautiful hope as children of God, as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. So today we want to ask for the grace to open the eyes of our hearts, so that we can really hear God’s promises to us.
This is, my brothers and sisters, our beautiful hope as children of God, as followers of Jesus Christ.
So today, we especially ask for the grace to open the eyes of our hearts. That we will really hear God’s promises to us. God will provide, he will give us what we need, through Jesus Christ. In our second reading today, we hear that promise from St. Paul. He tells us:
I have learned the secret! …
I can do all things in him who strengthens me. …
My God will fully supply whatever you need,
in accord with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
Jesus Christ will answer every prayer. He will gives us the strength we need — and everything else that we need.
It’s interesting to know that in the passage of the Gospel, it’s about inviting to a banquet — what I was thinking is that it reflects really that God is calling us to heavenly banquet, to the Eucharist, to the wedding feast of his Son. We heard these words in the Gospel:
“Behold, I have prepared my banquet …
everything is ready; come to the feast.”
God is always inviting us, he’s so generous. We also heard in the passage of the Gospel that some people do not accept his invitation and they have all kinds of excuses.
But still God keeps inviting, keeps calling.
But my brothers and sisters, when God calls, we need to answer with our whole heart. He wants to give us the finest gifts. He wants to give us the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ — to be our food, to bring us into communion with his own divine life.
But we can’t take our Lord’s gifts for granted. We cannot just go to Mass just because it is our custom. No, God wants more. He gives his gifts to us freely, but in return he asks us for our love.
God gives us everything, and he expects us to give ourselves completely in love of him, and in the love of our neighbor.
Love and only love. Love is the only response that we can make to the gifts of God.
Let’s ask for that grace, that we can really give back to God in love our entire lives. That will bring us the beauty of peace and joy in our lives.
So, I think this morning as we reflect on this passage of the Gospel and the readings of today’s Mass, it’s good that we ask ourselves: Do we come to this banquet, to this Eucharist, wearing the wedding garment? Do we love from a pure heart, with a clean conscience, and a sincere faith?2
Because Jesus is inviting us to love without holding anything back. In our homes and in our society.
He wants us to love with all our strength, and with all our hearts. Doing everything for the love of God, everything for the love of our neighbors.
Especially now, in this difficult moment we find ourselves in — in the face of all the suffering and sadness that we see as a result of this pandemic. The world is waiting for a new outpouring of Christian love.
Our Lord is calling each one of us in this hour — in this challenging hour — to reach out to our neighbors who are suffering. He is calling us to bring them hope, to tell them the good news of God’s banquet of love.
It is always a beautiful challenge and we need obviously the intercession of Mary our Blessed Mother. So today, my dear brothers and sisters, let us continue to put on the “wedding garment” of love. Let us strengthen our homes and our communities in the bonds of love. Loving God, and loving one another.
And may our Blessed Mother Mary go with us and help us every day until one day we can rejoice in the Kingdom of eternal life!
1. Readings (28th Sunday in Ordinary Time): Isa. 25:6-10; Ps. 23:1-6; Phil. 4:12-14, 19-20; Matt. 22:1-14.
2. 1 Tim. 1:5.