for Sunday, October 15, 2017
Banquets and parties - and yet the invited don't show up. Today's readings are about God's invitation to you and to me. Will we answer his invitation?
The first reading today is from the Prophet Isaiah. The Prophet tells us that God will provide a banquet for all peoples. Everyone is invited. God wants all to be saved. God will destroy death forever. All will rejoice that God has saved us.
This is a strong message because so many in our world do not want salvation for everyone nor even do many people want good things for everyone. There is enormous competition in our world - and so many, perhaps even ourselves, want to be ahead of others. Such desires destroy our humanity. We can strive to be the very best person that we can be - but never in competition with another. We can strive to serve others to the best of our ability - but not by competing with others. God wants us all to be saved and that should always be our prayer for our sisters and brothers. May they be the person that God has created them to be: and if they are better than we, so be it.
The second reading is from the Letter to the Philippians. Here Saint Paul is teaching us: "I know how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance." The challenge is for us to live the same way. Whether we have power and might and money or whether we have nothing, we must know how to live for God's glory and not for our own purposes.
Today's Gospel from Saint Matthew brings us back to banquets! Now the King, God Himself, is giving a banquet and those invited don't come to the banquet. Jesus uses this image as an image of the Kingdom of God. We are all invited! Are we going to respond to the invitation of Jesus? God wants us. God also invites us to live in a way given to us by Jesus Himself. So many people today no longer believe that Jesus is Lord, that Jesus is God, that Jesus is Savior.
When we acknowledge that Jesus is Lord, God and Savior, then we can understand how important it is to respond to His invitation and to live as He has shown us: love for all others, sacrifice of ourselves for the sake of others, trying to give our lives completely to the Lord through the service of others.
Just as in today's Gospel, God will not force us. Jesus accepts our freedom to reject Him and His invitation to the banquet of the Kingdom. Even though Jesus is God and Lord, He will never compel us against our own choices. So we are left in the end with our own choice: I don't have to be perfect. I don't have to do everything right. I can make mistakes.
At the center of my heart there is only question: Am I seeking to follow the Lord Jesus?
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Isaiah 25.6-10a
Second Reading: Philippians 4.10-14, 19-20++
Gospel: Matthew 22.1-14
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: