Scripture Readings: Isaiah 25:6-10; Philippians 4:12-14, 19-20; Matthew 20:1-14
This past Thursday, I was speaking with a Parish Life Director of our Diocese, a woman religious who shared that she recently had Dan Schutte at her Parish for a Concert, the same Dan Schutte who, a year ago, was at our neighboring Parish. And, I am sure most, if not all of us, are familiar with his song, “Table of Plenty” and the beginning of the song’s refrain:
“Come to the feast of Heaven and Earth; Come to the table of plenty.”
The scriptures today, especially that of Isaiah and Matthew reflect their common belief that the Kingdom of God – The Kingdom of Heaven – is like a banquet of rich food and choice wines, prepared by God.
For Isaiah all the peoples of the earth would be in attendance.
For Matthew the guest list evolved, after those invited refused to come, the servants of the king went out into the streets and gathered in to the feast, all they found, the good and bad alike.
John Wesley, a Methodist minister once shared that, “when he arrived in heaven, he would be surprised by three things:
- First, he would be surprised by who was there
- Second, he would be surprised by who was not there
- Third, he would be surprised to find himself there”
John Wesley, reminds us that God’s ways are not only surprising, but rich in mercy and love for sinners.
Maybe another way of saying all this is, how can we try and try and try again, to take on the “Mind of Jesus?”
I do think that this is exactly what Pope Francis is asking us to consider through his preaching and his exhortations to Catholics, to Christians, to all people. (This, I believe is what the Pope hopes to see happen in the Synod on the Family that is underway in Rome.) How can the Church, how can we who are part of the Church at the present time – take on the mind of Jesus when it comes to our daily lives at home, at work, in school, in the parish, in the community. Maybe there are more Pastoral ways to live our lives – personally and universally – as person, families and Church.
Pope Francis, it seems, continues to remind us to be more accepting of people, to be more merciful, to be more forgiving, to be more caring, to be more Christ like.
Many people often wonder why the man of the Gospel was thrown out of the Wedding Feast. Rather “bound hand and feet, and cast into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”
It had nothing to do with not being dressed to the nine’s – rather the point is that just showing up is not enough.
The garment is a reminder us of our Baptismal garment, when we “put on Christ” as the Baptism Ritual shares: “See in the white garment you wear the outward sign of your Christian dignity. With your family and friends to help you by word and example, bring that dignity unstained into the everlasting life of Heaven.”
Our Baptismal garment cannot not be tucked away in storage, it needs to be worn every day; and our Baptismal promises need to be lived every day, as we actively live our love of God, love of others, as His Disciples of today!
Come to the Feast of Heaven and Earth, Come to the table of plenty and may “Christ be our Light” today and every day. Amen.