Homily for the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time A
Life is full of opportunities knocking at our door, waiting to be opened. It is full of chances by which we can enjoy life to the full. But they may not last forever. We have to grab them- to catch the opportunities while we have the time – or else we can end up blaming, not others, but ourselves. An invitation is an example of an opportunity knocking at our door. But instead of getting to our feet and answering the door we instead, often complain about the noise.
In today’s gospel, Jesus tells us the parable of the wedding feast prepared by a king for his son. The wedding feast emphasises strongly the invitation to enter God’s kingdom on earth. Fattened cattle were killed and a long list of guests is drawn up which includes the wealthiest and most respected people in the kingdom. Clearly, he wants a wedding feast that will be remembered for a long time. When everything is ready, the invited guests are summoned to come. But they refused to come. Instead, they pursue their own travel and work plans. The king resorted to an unheard of move; he invited all kinds of people.
Can you imagine a powerful leader inviting labourers, farmers, fishermen, urban poor and even the outcast of society to a wedding celebration?
But there yet is another surprise. The Gospel strongly focuses on the fact that ‘all are invited’ – sinners and righteous, unworthy and worthy persons. Jesus explains that though the Kingdom of God is open to all, accepting the invitation means accepting the responsibility and challenge of Christian discipleship. If we accept the invitation, we must put on “wedding garments,” (v. 11). The insistence of wearing wedding garments is a warning for each one of us about the future to come. So that we must clothe ourselves in the garment of virtuous living or a good life. The wedding garments of Christians is the faithful lifestyle that leads each one to the wedding feast, the Kingdom of God. The wedding garment is the inclusive attitude or even the synodal church where everyone from highest to the lowest will be heard equally and contribute in building up the Kingdom of God on earth.
Pope Francis since the date that he became a spiritual leader of the Catholic Church has never stopped inviting the universal church to live and to send out ‘the invitation of inclusion’ to all. He strongly emphasises that the Church is for the poor, the outcast and for all.
More importantly, a few days ago on the feast day of St Francis of Assisi, the Pope signed a new encyclical namely Fratelli Tutti: on Fraternity and Social Friendship.” Pope Francis writes “Fratelli Tutti: with these words, Saint Francis of Assisi addressed his brothers and sisters and proposed to them a way of life marked by the flavour of the Gospel.” (Fratelli Tutti, No. 1)
The encyclical takes its title from St. Francis and is inspired by his “fraternal openness” which, the Pope said, calls on people “to acknowledge, appreciate and love each person, regardless of physical proximity, [and]regardless of where he or she was born or lives.” (Fratelli Tutti, No. 1)
When the Covid 19 pandemic covers the globe with the dark cloud and frightens everyone with the physical and social distancing, it can create a sense of isolation and dislocation. With his encyclical on Fraternity and Social Friendship Pope Francis, instead, wants to offer us a vision or a way of how we are connected and to rethink and to begin building a culture of peace and mutual friendship from the most local, most ordinary activities and most concrete realities. This peace and friendship can then live in our homes, workplaces, civil and church communities.
So let us read this encyclical and use the Gospel to refresh ourselves and decide on what kind of wedding garment we are going to wear.
Picture: Chapel of Disclosure, Belgium. Photo Anabelle D’Hont