HOMILY FOR THE TWENTY-EIGHT SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR A.
HOMILY THEME: THE LORD’S BANQUET
BY: Fr. Johnbosco Obika
Phil 4:12-14, 19-20
God invites all of us this Sunday to his feast irrespective of who we are and where we come from “in accord with his glorious riches”. The readings give a thrill of hope and call us to conversion in order be worthy of the the Lord’s table.
The first reading tells us about a beautiful mountain. The mountain is a place of high elevation. The Bible presents it as a place of high spiritual experience and a place where quest for God meets satisfaction. At Moriah Abraham encountered God. On the mount Sinai Moses received the ten commandments. On Horeb Elijah encountered God. On Tabor, Jesus’ transfiguration took place. Isaiah, using the metaphor of the mountain visualizes the kingdom of heaven where God sets a rich banquet for all nations (parallel to the mountain in Heb 12:22, Zion the city of the living God where millions of angels have come for festive assembly). With imageries of ” rich food and choice wines” the banquets looks really attractive. With the destruction of the veil and web covering all nations and elimination of death and tears, no one would love to miss this banquet. It’s really a place to be. But who can climb this mountain? “Those with clean hands and clean hearts” (Psalm 24:4). Not those with soiled hands and stained hearts! The lord requires that those who desire his banquet be pure.
In the gospel, Jesus presents another scenario of a banquet. When those who were invited turned down the invitation (the Pharisees, scribes), the chief host ordered his servants to enter streets and call in everyone, “the good and the bad” (the gentiles, “sinners”) to his table. But one of those from the streets entered the banquet hall with soiled clothe. Angered by this, the chief host ordered for his imprisonment. The banquet is free but no one is allowed to come in anyhow. God invites us to his eternal feast but he demands conversion from us.
The Eucharist is the foretaste of the heavenly banquet. How do we approach the Lord’s table? With soiled hands and stained hearts? With filthy clothes of sin? Do we still care about our moral and spiritual garment?