The Twenty-eighth Sunday
in Ordinary Time
October 8, 2017
Fr. José Maria Alvim Cortes, F.S.C.B.

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Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a feast. A feast is an occasion for joy, good food and drink, communion, dancing and music. The prophet Isaiah says in the first reading: “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” (Is 25:6).

Jesus shows us that God’s life is a feast, composed of joy, movement, color, harmony and communion. Human feasts have an end. We have to go home. However, this feast has no end. There is no end-of-the-party feeling: “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” (Is 25:7–8).

The most important thing is that we are all invited to this feast. We are all invited to the wedding feast of the King’s son.

Have you ever been invited to a royal wedding? I have. 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! I had to read the Gospel. The book of the Gospels was very old and heavy. I was holding the book during the Alleluia. It would have been easy if it were a normal Alleluia. However, it was an Alleluia by Mozart, which was very, very long. At the end of the service, the cardinal went home. I thought: “I am here. This thing took my whole day and now I have the right to go to 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 Gospel says that we are all invited to the wedding feast of the son of the King, the Lord of the universe. There is only one condition: to say “yes” to the invitation and dress in a wedding garment.

I have always been intrigued about the meaning the guest who was not dressed in a wedding garment. The wedding garment symbolizes our desire and decision. To be at a wedding but not dressed for the occasion is a sign of someone who is in a place but does not desire to be there. There is no true decision. He is physically present but spiritually absent.

I was struck by Steve Jobs’ speech in 2005 to the graduates of Stanford University. He finished his speech by inviting the new graduates to have the courage to follow their hearts and intuition, saying: “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”

The wedding garment is a heart full of desire, not satisfied with little things, a heart only satisfied by the presence of God. Jesus came to answer our deepest desire. Only in the feast of the King can our deepest aspirations be fulfilled. As Saint Augustine says in a famous quotation: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

May Our Lady of the Rosary obtain for us the grace of a great heart that is always hungry for the presence of God.  Amen.

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