Gospel Matthew 22:1-14
I would like to meditate and share three simple words with you – mountain, banquet/feast and garment. Look at the garment that you are wearing, is that the right choice? What is the garment for a wedding feast? We are all invited. At the first invitation of the marriage feast, the servants went out, but people refused the invitation. Someone went to his business, someone attended to family affairs and someone went to the farms. How many people are invited to this banquet of the Eucharist and are not here? How many people are invited to join ‘faith’ and are not here? They are probably somewhere else. The ones that are invited and are here think that they are ok. But even though they have accepted the invitation, they are not wearing the right garment.
The first reflection was the word mountain. In the Bible, how many mountains can you remember in Jesus’ life? The mountain of Transfiguration, the mountain of Gethsemane, the mountain of Golgotha and the mountain of the Ascension. These four mountains remind us of different moments. The Transfiguration is a time of manifestation and revelation of God to us; it’s a time of rest and joy, a time of delight for Peter. The mountain of Transfiguration is a Feast. The mountain of Gethsemane is a mountain of abandonment, anguish, loneliness, deep sadness and the silence of God. The mountain of Golgotha is a mountain of death, where sin takes over and where all powers of evil come in that moment of darkness to cover humanity as we kill Jesus. The mountain of Ascension where Jesus goes to Heaven and in Him we see the hope that one day our bodies will be redeemed and will join the body of Jesus and our Mother in Heaven.
Which mountain are we in at this particular moment? In the last seven months our humanity and our world has been in the mountain of Gethsemane. We have been in the mountain of Golgotha. This virus has shaken the essentiality of our lives. The essentiality of breathing pure air; of hugging each other; of affection; of looking after the elderly and the fear of leaving them alone; of harm and infection. The mountain of Gethsemane and Golgotha – loneliness, depression, unemployment, anger, corruption and so on. Between these two mountains, there is the Transfiguration – the manifestation of God. This is an invitation that reminds us that death, evil and division of any kind does not have the last word. We are called to this mountain of Transfiguration, the mountain of the Eucharist that the Church becomes, a mountain of joy of the Resurrection.
The second word is feast. How many feasts can you remember in Jesus’ life? The wedding in Cana, the Last Supper, after the resurrection of Lazarus when Martha invited Him for thanksgiving lunch/dinner, when Zacchaeus converted and after Matthew was called. There are other feasts in the Gospel that we are invited to look at – Herod’s feast for his birthday that ended with a murder; the prodigal son that returned, the father that threw a party, and the eldest son that refused to attend; Zacchaeus’ conversion and promise to give half of his property to the poor. Celebration is part of our lives. The question is how do our parties/celebrations end up? Where do they lead us? Many times we celebrate in a way that is inhuman, incorrect and out of proportion. A celebration is supposed to bring life and joy but ends up with fighting, swearing, etc. The real celebration that the Lord is inviting us to today is the feast that, like Zacchaeus, Matthew, Martha and Mary, accepts the consequences of death, sin and illness but still come to the celebration. Because we know the promise that is mentioned in the first reading – The Lord will make for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wines. Can you imagine that banquet? It is a banquet full of joy, hope and reconciliation. However, St. Paul invites us in his letter to the Philippians to be happy with what we have. He says, I know how to live in abundance and how to live in want because I have learned the secret of having plenty and going hungry. One of the prayers of the Book of Proverbs says, Lord don’t make me so poor that I can be tempted to steal and talk against you, but don’t make me too rich because I can be arrogant and forget about your mercies. The feast we are invited to join is the Feast of recognising the gifts and blessings that we have already received and to know that these gifts come from a simple word – garment, the garment of generosity, community, charity and protection.
Accept the invitation and wear the right garment. We are in this Church and this community every Sunday to continuously improve the garment that will enable us to enter fully into the marriage feast. Amen.