Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 12, 2014 Cycle A
by Rev. Jose Maria Cortes, F.S.C.E.

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In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a king’s wedding feast for his son. Have you ever been invited to a royal wedding? I was. To be more precise, I was not invited but I went to a royal wedding anyway. I shall explain. When I was a deacon, I had to assist the Cardinal of Lisbon, Portugal, during the marriage of the Duke of Bragança. Portugal is a republic. If it were a monarchy, the duke would have been the king. The service was in one of the most ancient and beautiful churches in Lisbon. All the European royalty and important people were present. It was a very impressive service. Beautiful music.

At the end of the ceremony, the cardinal went home. I thought I am here. This wedding has taken my whole day and now I have the right to attend the reception. I was not invited. However, with my clerical collar, I passed through security and went to the reception. It was very nice!

The parable says that the king invited guests who refused to come. They were busy with many things. The king’s invitation was not their first priority. Other things seemed more important.  To this indifferent response, the king answers with a second invitation. Once again, the invitees ignore the invitation. Their farms and businesses seemed more important to them than the king's invitation to the wedding feast.

What we call reality is what we can grasp with our hands or perceive with our senses. We often consider such reality to be more important than spiritual things. God and his kingdom are perceived as distant and less real than our worldly interests. Modern culture does not put God in the first place. The individual and everything that refers to him has usurped God’s place.

This week, I went to the presentation of a book about Sargent Shriver entitled A Good Man, written by his son Mark. In the introduction, the author tells us about a hunting trip. They are running late. He is very anxious because they are supposed to arrive at their destination before dawn. There is tension in the car. As they cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, suddenly the sun rises and his father says: “Look at that! I can’t wait to meet God. I can’t wait to meet the Creator who made such a beautiful sunrise!”

God wants to invite us to something infinitely great and beautiful. We need to look ahead and welcome the signs of his initiative. To be religious, to live by faith, means to have the capacity to connect everything with the Creator, to recognize the fount, the ultimate origin of people and things.

Saint Paul is an example of someone who accepted his invitation to the feast. For him, God’s invitation became the first priority in his life.

In the second reading, Saint Paul tells us what it means to live in a religious way and speaks about the secret of life, a new and different way of living by faith. He says that he has found a way of living that allows him to know “how to live in humble circumstances” and he also knows “how to live with abundance.” He shows us that he is liberated from his circumstances. How is this possible? Is it because he is a hero? Not at all. He is able to live this way because he has found a force greater than himself that sustains him: “I can do all things in him
who strengthens me.” In Christ, Paul found the fullness where his heart can rest, where his needs are satisfied: “My God will fully supply whatever you need, in accord with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

We, too, are invited to come to the feast.” Let us accept God’s initiative. Let us say yes to his call and enjoy his gifts.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

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