Sunday, 15 October 2017 : Twenty-Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Sunday through the readings we heard from the Sacred Scriptures we are brought to remember and to keep in mind of the love which God has for each and every one of us, and the generosity which He has shown us by the outpouring of His grace, by the guidance He has shown us, in leading us all on the right path towards Him.

For God is our Shepherd and Lord, He Who created us out of nothingness because of the great love He has for each and every one of us. Each one of us are like the sheep of the Lord, Who cares for us with tender care and love, and His guiding hands lead us on the right path towards Him. He will bless all those who are faithful to Him, and continue to love them forever. But all those who refuse to listen to Him and disregard Him, He will also reject.

For that is what we have heard in the Gospel passage today, in which the Lord Jesus spoke of the parable of the king and his wedding banquet or feast. He has invited people to come to his feast, where the best food and drinks, the finest wines and meat are overflowing, in line with what we also heard in our first reading today from the Book of the prophet Isaiah as well as the Good Shepherd psalm. This feast is a representation of God’s love and grace for His people.

Yet, we heard how those guests refused to come to the banquet which the king had prepared for them. They ignored the servants of the king who were sent to them to inform them of the feast. Instead, they continued their daily businesses, doing their works and farms, and other sorts of occupations. Some of them even struck at the servants of the king, insulted them and killed some of them.

This was the behaviour of the people of Israel, to whom God had bestowed His favour and grace, as the people whom He first chose and called to be His own. Yet, they were easily distracted and tempted, and having forgotten about God, they turned into sin and fall into the darkness. They did not put the Lord as the priority in their lives, and instead, other idols became their priority, the idol of money, of worldly fame and glory, as well as many others.

That is why, all of us are called to turn away from our sins, and open wide our minds and hearts, that we may know what it is that the Lord wants us to do in our lives. But, we must also remember that whatever we have received from God, in His instructions and the truths He gave to us, we must make sure that we do not just listen to them superficially. Instead, we have to internalise the words and practice what we have been taught, actively in our respective lives.

Those who are willing to listen to the Lord, and walk in His ways will be granted the favour and grace from God, as God calls on all those who are still willing to follow Him. In the parable, the king sent his servants to call upon people on the streets and in the public places to fill up the banquet place, replacing all those who were originally invited and yet refused to come.

If we reject God, and refuse to obey Him, then even though God loves us, but because of our sins and rejection, it is we ourselves who have consciously rejected God’s love and spurned His offer of mercy and forgiveness. In the end, it was by our own actions that we have fallen into a state of condemnation. It is by our own choice that we have ended up falling into hell. We have to be consciously active in our faith to avoid this.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is also what the Lord meant when He mentioned in the parable of the case where a man was present in the wedding banquet without a wedding garment. We should not interpret this literally as if we do so, we will end up missing on the true purpose of this parable, that is to remind us as the people of God in how we should live our lives.

That means, all of us must be properly ‘clothed’ in our entire being, and not just our appearances only. When we come to the Lord, we must have the right reasons and the right predispositions. When we come to the Holy Mass, many of us are complaining about those who are skimpily dressed and not properly attired for the celebration of the Mass in the House of God, and yet, while this is important to ensure the compliance of the faithful to follow the regulations and standards of the Church in this matter, but we cannot overlook the even more important need to ‘clothe’ ourselves in our minds and in our hearts.

Coming for the celebration of the Holy Mass and participating in our faith, which is represented in the parable as the wedding banquet of the king, is important. Yet, attending the celebration is just one part of the entire experience. Let us ask ourselves these questions to reorientate ourselves properly. Have we ever been impatient when we came for the Holy Mass, thinking that it was a waste of time, because either the priest’s homily was too long or boring according to us?

And have we thought that coming for the Holy Mass is a chore, because we have to take time off from our usual activities outside the Church, and we cannot wait to return to continue our daily habits? If we have been doing all these, then we need to evaluate and reflect in our hearts again, whether God is the first priority in our lives, or whether it is instead money, possessions, pleasures of the flesh, prestige, fame and all other sorts of distractions that have kept us from having true and genuine faith in God?

What then, can we do as Christians in order to be appropriately ‘clothed’ for the Lord? It is by deepening our relationship with Him through prayer and devotion, by allowing Him to enter our lives and to take charge of all of our actions and deeds. And when we allow God to take charge of our lives, we will realise and experience a great transformation, as God has promised us His blessings and graces, His rich endowment and gifts. He will transform us from people filled now with sin, to be a people of the light.

Let us all therefore pray, and pray fervently that we may be able, and that we may have the necessary courage to follow the Lord wholeheartedly in all that we say and do. Let us all renew our commitment to the Lord, and follow Him from now on with the full sincerity of our hearts. May the Lord continue to bless us and watch over us, as we continue to live this lives of ours, every single day. Amen.

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