Reflections

TWENTY-EIGHTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, OCTOBER 11, 2020

ARE YOU READY WITH YOUR WEDDING GARMENT?
1. Feasting with the Lord
2. Those at the Crossroads Too Are Invited

Greeting (cf. First Reading)
The Lord has prepared for all people
a feast of rich food,
a banquet of fine wines.
He will wipe away
the tears from every cheek.
May the Lord of our joy be always with you. R/ And also with you.

Introduction
1. Feasting with The Lord
Happy are the days of a good celebration, when we can forget our worries for a while, enjoy one another’s company and laugh and sing, dance and be happy. We are lucky to have such a day now and then, a day of feasting and real joy. That is what God wishes for all of us. He has invited us to happiness without end and as a token of this he invites us, even now, to the feast meal of his Son Jesus. Do we care about this invitation? Are we aware that everyone is invited, also the weak and the poor and the sad? Let us enjoy our celebration with the Lord.

2. Those at The Crossroads Are Invited Too
We come to today’s Eucharist in response to the invitation of Jesus our Lord who welcomes all to his festive meal. All are invited, but not all are here. Some dare not come because they feel we do not welcome them or think they are not good enough. Others are not aware that they are invited. Yet others are hostile at our approach. Jesus asks us to welcome all and to make all feel at home with us as he feels at home with them.

Penitential Act
Instead of the joys of an honest life
we choose at times the sadness of sin.
Let us ask the Lord to forgive us.
(pause)

Lord Jesus, you offer us the joy
of forgiveness and acceptance and love:
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.

Jesus Christ, in the name of the Father
you came to invite us
to the everlasting wedding feast of the Kingdom:
Christ, have mercy. R/ Christ, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, you invite to your feast of love
the weak and the humble with the strong and the healthy:
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.

Have mercy on us, Lord,
and take us out of the shame and sorrow of sin.
Keep us in your caring love
and lead us to everlasting life. R/ Amen.

Opening Prayer
Let us pray that we may enjoy God’s happiness
with all the peoples of the world
(pause)

Lord God, our Father,
we come together here as a people
to share in the feast of Jesus, our Saviour.
Let this celebration remain the sign
of the feast without end
which you have prepared for us.
Make us rejoice with you
and welcome all with open arms,
people from everywhere, from all nations,
the poor and the rich, the weak and the strong.
Make all accept your invitation,
that we may rejoice with all
in Christ Jesus our Lord. R/ Amen.

First Reading: God Prepares A Feast For All Peoples
In a vision of hope, the prophet describes the time of the messiah-savior in terms of a feast meal. All peoples will come to this meal and find in God the fullness of life and happiness.

1 Reading: Isaiah 25:6-10a
On this mountain the LORD of hosts will provide for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines. On this mountain he will destroy the veil that veils all peoples, the web that is woven over all nations; he will destroy death forever. The Lord GOD will wipe away the tears from every face; the reproach of his people he will remove from the whole earth; for the LORD has spoken. On that day it will be said: “Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us! This is the LORD for whom we looked; let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!” For the hand of the LORD will rest on this mountain.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6
R. (6cd) I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul. R.

He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
with your rod and your staff
that give me courage. R.

You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows. R.

Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come. R.

Second Reading: I Can Do Everything Through Christ My Strength
Paul thanks the Christians of Philippi who had sent him material help in prison. God also has given him strength in his trials.

Reading: Philippians 4:12-14, 19-20
Brothers and sisters: I know how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance. In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need. I can do all things in him who strengthens me. Still, it was kind of you to share in my distress. My God will fully supply whatever you need, in accord with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father, glory forever and ever. Amen.

Alleluia cf. Ephesians 1:17-18
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
enlighten the eyes of our hearts,
so that we may know what is the hope
that belongs to our call.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel: Come to the Feast!
Everything in life is an invitation from God, but we often offer excuses. We have also the mission to invite others to the feast of God’s love.

Gospel Matthew 22:1-14
Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and elders of the people in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come. A second time he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those invited: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast.”‘ Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged and sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.’ The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to meet the guests, he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment. The king said to him, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?’ But he was reduced to silence. Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’ Many are invited, but few are chosen.”

Commentary
The Little That Is Much
There is a story told about the American Sir Yehudi Menhuin, the world-famous violinist, who also meditates in the tradition taught by Fr. John Main. He was giving a series of concerts in a capital city. One evening as he returned to his hotel after his performance he noticed a little girl, about eight years old and three feet tall, playing a violin at a street corner trying to collect some coins. He was touched by the sight of the little girl and sat down to listen to her. He asked her name – Nora – and encouraged her to play every tune she knew. In the end he said to her, “Nora, how would you like to come with me tomorrow night and play at my concert before all the people”
“Oh no sir,” she replied, “you know that I do not play very well.”
“Never mind about that,” Yehudi said. “You just stand there on the stage and play. I will be behind the curtain and play loudly. The people will see you but they will hear me!” So the next night little pint-sized Nora took the stage. The people were thrilled at seeing the little girl and hearing the wonderful music. They clapped and clapped and gave her encore after encore. But she never knew she played all the music, Yehudi, only supplied the harmony.
In some ways we are like little Nora. We cannot do much of ourselves yet our little effort is needed so that God – the musician behind the curtain – can work through us. In the Christian way of understanding there have always been two poles or extremes in the relationship between our effort and God’s achievement. It has been reflected in the extreme of Pelagianism on the hand and Quietism on the other. Pelagianism goes back to a British monk born in 354 A.D. who claimed that people could live good lives purely by their own efforts and did not need any help from God. St. Augustine wrote five treatises against Pelagianism. Quietism, a sixteenth century heresy associated with the Spanish priest Miguel de Molina, claimed that passive presence to God without doing anything else was all that was necessary. The same conflict was found in the dispute as to which was the more important, faith or good works. I think the three rules given by Fr. Tony de Mello give a healthy summing up of the situation. Rule One: God does everything. Rule Two: You can do nothing. Rule Three: In your day-to-day living forget rule one and rule two.
Christ is making the same kind of point in the Gospel story today. A king gives a feast for his son’s wedding. When the invited guests do not come the king is furious and orders his servants to go to the crossroads of the town and invite everyone to the wedding. So they brought in everyone they could find, good and bad alike, and the wedding feast was full. At a wedding feast in those days a visitor was given a free wedding garment to wear. When the king came in he saw one man who was not wearing a wedding garment (he was given).
Again, the king was furious and had the man thrown out.
The story reflects the problems of the young church at the time Matthew was writing. They were having problems with some non-Jews who had joined the early Christian Church but who were not even complying with the most minimal requirements. So, in the story the original guests invited were the Jews. Those brought in later to take their places were the Gentiles or non-Jews. But even from these a minimum was required.
In our case also all that we have is gift. We are called not because we are worthy or because we are of any particular race but because God wants us. Yet, in spite of the power of his call, he wants a minimal, a positive attitude, and simple response from us.
Perhaps the simplest way of prayer, of responding by being in God’s presence, is through meditation. It is as simple as putting on an offered wedding garment. All one is asked to do is to say a prayer word every morning and every evening. But to say that it is simple does not mean to say that it is easy. It is an activity in which we never seem to achieve success. We are called to do our like little Nora playing her fiddle; it gave God the opportunity to play great music in the background. So go and wear the garment of faith the Lord has given to you. Don’t drag your foot in doing your part.

Intercessions
Let us recommend to the Lord all those we encounter at the crossroads of life, that they too may hear and accept the invitation to the table of the Lord. Let us say:
R/ Lord, be our life and joy.

– That the Lord may gather all peoples in one common praise of his name, let us pray:
R/ Lord, be our life and joy.
– That the life of all Christians may radiate joy and hope and bring a feast of happiness to others, let us pray:
R/ Lord, be our life and joy.
– That the Lord who destroys death may give consolation and strength to all those who mourn the loss of someone they love, let us pray:
R/ Lord, be our life and joy.
– That the communities without priests, isolated as they often are, may also receive the Lord as their food, let us pray:
R/ Lord, be our life and joy.
– That the Lord in the Eucharist may be the joy and the bond of love of all our Christian communities, let us pray:
R/ Lord, be our life and joy.

Lord, it is good to be with you. Let our hearts overflow with joy and make us share with one another all the good gifts with which you have enriched us. Bless us in Jesus Christ our Lord. R/ Amen.

Prayer over the Gifts
Lord God, as a loving Father
you prepared among us the table of your Son
for the sick and the healthy,
the poor and the rich,
for saints and for sinners.
Accept our joy and gratitude
and let your Son present here among us
rouse us from our sluggishness and cowardice
and lead us to the feast of your unending joy.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. R/ Amen.

Introduction to the Eucharistic Prayer
We are now invited to share in the sacrifice of Jesus our Lord. That means: to accept his life, his love, but also to give ourselves with him to one another and to the Father.

Introduction to the Lord’s Prayer
We accept the invitation of Jesus our Lord to pray with him to our Father in heaven. R/ Our Father…

Deliver Us
Deliver us Lord, from our apathy,
our easy excuses and pretexts
that keep us from accepting your invitation
to follow your Son on the road to you.
Do not allow us to be sad,
since you are our joy and strength.
Keep us from all sin that divides us
and lead us forward in hope
to the coming among us in power and mercy
of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. R/ For the kingdom…

Invitation to Communion
This is the Lord who invites us:
Come, the table is set,
everything is ready.
Come to the feast.
Happy are those who are invited
to the supper of the Lamb. R/ Lord, I am not worthy…

Thanksgiving (J. Zink)
God, we bless you,
we worship you,
we praise you for your glory.
We rejoice in this festive day
which we receive from your hand.
We thank you for the meal
and for letting us enjoy your many gifts.
We thank you for food and drink,
which are the image and sign of a feast.
We thank you for all the love that surrounds us,
for the nearness of people whom we love.
We thank you for giving us many reasons
to be glad and joyful.
We rejoice in all that succeeds
and we trust your word
that ultimately all our life will be successful,
when after all our efforts
we celebrate your feast for all eternity. R/ Amen.

Prayer after Communion
Lord, our faithful God,
we have celebrated with joy
the liberating presence among us
of your Son Jesus Christ
and we have eaten from his table.
Accompany us in life
through the Holy Spirit of your Son,
the playful Spirit of wisdom and fantasy,
of encounter and gratuitous love,
that hand in hand we may go on
believing in the unexpected
and making the impossible come true:
a world of justice and love,
until you gather us around the table
of your feast that lasts for ever. R/ Amen.

Blessing
In this Eucharist we have been attentive
to the voice of God:
we have come to this feast,
we have heard God’s Word.
But now the invitation continues
in the routine of everyday life:
in our prayers and hopes,
also in our work and cares.
Let us be open to that call,
also when it cries out
in the needs of the poor and the humble.
May God bless you and keep you:
the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. R/ Amen.
May God go with you and keep you in his love. R/ Thanks be to God.

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