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Reflections on the Eucharistic Feast as a Foretaste of the Heavenly Banquet

Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A, 2023 with the Readings Isaiah 25:6-10a; Psalm 23; Philippians 4:12-14, 19-20 and Matthew 22:1-14.

Today as on third weekends we give Marriage Anniversary blessing to couples. It is not uncommon for parents to throw party for their son’s wedding. In our First Reading and Gospel today God throws such party that should gladden our hearts.  God has given a feast to all of us. Both Isaiah and Jesus the Lord describe such feast. Everyone is invited. The Prophet Isaiah described the banquet of “rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.” (Is 25:6). The sight of God who has saved us shall gladden our hearts. We do read this passage often at funerals too. Originally, the banquet was for some special invitees. I mean, the invitation should gladden our hearts, (cf. Is 25:9). But when they gave excuses why they could not come, it was thrown open to everyone. Which group do you belong? To this banquet a number of things are obvious. One – the Lord Jesus guides us along the right paths; Two – he shows the way to the banquet of eternal life; Three – he fully supplies whatever we need to this banquet. The Lord God almighty sent his Son and celebrates for his Son Jesus, and invites everyone. How many invitees care to attend the banquet God called for his Son?

The Eucharistic Feast is a foretaste of the heavenly banquet. At this feast, the Son provides himself as the food for the journey to eternal life. On this journey, therefore, Jesus supplies whatever we need. He provides bread and wine, holiness, righteousness, justice, peace, love, joy, patience, forbearance, hope, faith and companionship which we translate as community. We call this banquet event the Mass, and the community, we call it the Church. Here the Lord feeds us and our cups overflow, as the psalmist predicted.

He anoints us with holy Oils by which he consecrates us, purifies us, and strengthens us for the struggles and battles of life. The three Oils the Bishop blesses at Chrism Mass have that miraculous power. We anoint the catechumens at the beginning of the journey to have the strength to battle ahead. My dad once described to me the rubbing of oil before wrestling, which makes one slippery. You, the Christian, understand what you celebrate, that you are invited to the sacrifice of the Body and Blood of the Lamb of Sacrifice. Many ignore the invitation because of the cares and affairs of this world. Many are unprepared and appear not dressed in a wedding garment. Here I am reminded of the song: “I cannot come to the banquet.” Let us be prepared that we may be counted among God’s chosen people. Let us pray with St. Paul in Phil. 4:19-20, saying, “May God fully supply whatever (we) need, in accord with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father, glory forever and ever. Amen.”

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