Don't people like the holidays? So why are so many so indifferent to heaven? Because throughout the Bible, heaven is described as a great feast. This is evident both in today's first reading and in the Gospel.
The prophet Isaiah envisions what is known as "the eschatological mountain," the heavenly mountain/Jerusalem, which is described in more detail in the New Testament book of Revelation. And this mountain has become a huge banquet hall. "The Lord of the universe will prepare for all peoples, on this mountain, a feast of succulent delicacies, a feast of vintage wines; exquisite delicacies, refined wines.".
And not only that, but all sorrow and even death have been eternally banished from this summit. "God, the Lord, will wipe away tears from all faces.". The people will rejoice and exult because of God's salvation, "for the hand of the Lord shall rest upon this mountain.". It is a clear prophecy from heaven.
The psalm suggests a similar idea, although slightly different. The banquet is no longer on a mountain, but on a "green meadows"with water "quiet" flowing smoothly. "You anoint my head with perfume, and my cup runneth over.". It is not heaven, but it is the way: it is the soul in God, which fears no evil or enemy, knowing that it is guided by God.
Jesus also describes the kingdom of heaven as a banquet, except that, in this case, no one seems interested.
"They didn't want to go.". So the king insists: "He again sent other servants, charging them to tell the guests: 'I have prepared the banquet, I have killed calves and fattened cattle and everything is ready. Come to the wedding. And then come the tragic words: "But they didn't listen.".
They mistreat or kill the servants the king sends them. The king kills them in turn (refusing God's grace brings disastrous consequences, as we saw last week). But since there are now places available, he sends his servants to invite to the wedding as many as they can find.. They bring to "bad and good" equally. Pope Francis commented on this episode at the recent World Youth Day in Lisbon. "In the Church there is room for everyone.". And he insisted: "Everyone, everyone, everyone!".
But then comes the twist. There's room for everyone, or almost. The king enters and finds a man without a wedding suit. "'Friend, how did you get in here without your wedding dress?' The other did not open his mouth. Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot and throw him out into the darkness. There there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' For many are called, but few are chosen.'".
The point is that anyone can enter if they are willing to get into the spirit of the party. This man was an intruder who had only come to eat and drink. The feast is open to all, as long as they are willing to open themselves to God and to others.
Homily on the readings of the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)
The priest Luis Herrera Campo offers its nanomiliaA short one-minute reflection for these Sunday readings.