Last Sunday, we came to know how God wants each of us to bear fruits of the kingdom. Today, the prophet Isaiah leads us to reflect on the great joy that awaits those who do the will of God. Their happiness will be great in the eschatological or feast of the end time. They will sing songs of victory in the end. God will fulfill his wonderful plans for those who are faithful and true, who will extol and praise his name. They are a strong people who will honor him. They are the poor whom God will be their refuge in distress: a shelter from the rain, a shade from the heat. The prophet in song celebrates the messianic times when the Lord finally wins victory over the enemy. At the coming of the messiah, every ‘death’ situation will be transformed. There will be only cheerfulness and happiness for all. In the final days, there will be feasting. In this banquet of the kingdom, the Lord will invite all peoples to come and enjoy. This is what the prophet speaks about when he says that on this mountain, the Lord of hosts will provide for all peoples, a feast of rich food and choice wines… he will destroy the veil that veils all peoples….he will destroy death forever. He will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the reproach of his people, from the whole earth.
Here, the prophet illustrates the abundant blessings of the communion of God with all the people saved and now meeting on Mount Zion for a sacred banquet. It was prefigured in the Old Testament meeting of God’s people, called forth in his name. In the New Testament, it is the meeting of God’s people, who are those baptized into the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They are the people of God called forth by his grace, to worship him in Spirit and in truth. In the last days, there will be great rejoicing of the elect, in the communion of the saints, to constitute one great fellowship of love, as the mystical Body of Christ, now subjected by him to the one, who subjected everything to him, so that God may be all in all (1 Corinthians 15:28).
To be found in Christ and enjoy his marriage feast in heaven, each of us must always live by our baptismal vows and promises, by always putting on Christ and remaining new creation. Jesus emphasizes this reality in our gospel reading today. We hear that Jesus began to address the chief priests and elders of the people, using parables, about the reign of God. He speaks about a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. Some of the invited guests ignored the invitation with excuses. Some others laid hold of his servants, insulted them, and killed them. After dealing with the murderers, he ordered that his wedding hall should be filled up with everyone the servants could find.
Coming to inspect his guests, he found one who did not dress with wedding garment, the king ordered him to be punished. What do we learn from this? We learn the lesson that God is that King who had a wedding feast for his Son. This feast is the marriage feast of the kingdom in which all is invited. To attend it we must be dressed in our baptismal attire. Baptismal life gives identity to the disciple, with its own values and norms, different from those of the world. It is through the grace of God that the life of baptism can be possible.
In the parable of the marriage feast, Jesus tells us about the need to open our hearts and the doors of our communities to every individual, which include the poor, the marginalized, those rejected by all. In this way, the poor can accept with joy as a gift, the completely gratuitous love of God for them. To attend the marriage feast of God, we do not do so, with old rags of evil-doing, but with the new garment of righteousness and Christlikeness. That is why, in our gospel reading, when the king came in to meet the guests, and caught sight of a man not properly dressed for a wedding feast, he ordered him to be bound hand and foot, to be thrown out into the night to wail and grind his teeth. Though many are called, few who are dressed in their wedding garment, or baptismal garment of holiness and Christlikeness are chosen.
Having been regenerated and given a new heart by God through baptism, each of us should live the baptismal life at all times. The words of the vows made in baptism, must be lived out as the principles and norms of our life, In this way, we must be espoused to God through his Son, Jesus Christ. We all must learn to depend on God at all times. May God help us now and forever. Amen.