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Home » The Sunday Lectionary

(Sunday XXVIII OT — A) The Banquet of the Last Day

Submitted by on Saturday, 8 October 2011No Comment

weddingbanquetparable

The Kingdom-Banquet Theme

The leit-motif of the kingdom-banquet theme is conveyed by the first reading and the gospel. The Isaianic oracle from Isaiah 25:6-10 is a vision of the eschatological banquet that God will host on His holy mountain. That day will see the end of the death (the shroud that covers the peoples … the web woven over all nations), and the age of mourning. The shame that hangs over God’s people will be taken away and He will be revealed for what He is: the Good that all looked for, the Savior of His people.

The parable of the wedding banquet in a way contains an explanation of how the kingdom of God will be transferred to a people that will give God the fruits pleasing to Him. Those who were in the guest list has proven their unworthiness to participate in the banquet and so the king fills up his banquetting hall by letting in anyone who would care to come. His servants call in all that they could find, "both good and bad" and bring them to the banquet. But there is a second part to the banquet. Though many have been called, only some will remain. The king finds someone who does not wear the wedding banquet. What is this wedding banquet?

The Wedding Garment

Though everyone is invited to take part in the banquet, there is still a requirement: the white garment of baptism. "Put on the Lord Jesus Christ," writes Paul in a reference to the living out of one’s baptismal vows. The white wedding garment is symbolized in the baptismal garment of the baptized, symbol of the dignity of the status of the children of God. It is also a symbol of the virtues of the saints, that is, the life of righteousness bearing fruit, the spiritual sacrifice of those who make up the new Temple of God which has Christ as its cornerstone.

robe-of-righteousness

One can also think of the wedding garment in terms of Christian love, as Tomas Rosica reminds us using one of the sermons of Augustine.

Let us consider the moving words of St. Augustine of Hippo in his sermon (No. 90) on today’s Gospel passage: "What is the wedding garment that the Gospel talks about? Very certainly, that garment is something that only the good have, those who are to participate in the feast. … Could it be the sacraments? Baptism? Without baptism, no one comes to God, but some people receive baptism and do not come to God. … Perhaps it is the altar or what a person receives at the altar? But in receiving the Lord’s body, some people eat and drink to their own condemnation (1 Corinthians 11:29). So what is it? Fasting? The wicked also fast. Going to church often? The wicked go to church just like others. …

"So what is this wedding garment? The Apostle Paul tells us: ‘What we are aiming at … is the love that springs from a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith’ (1 Timothy 1:5). That is the wedding garment. Paul is not talking about just any kind of love, for one can often see dishonest people loving others … but one does not see among them this love ‘that springs from a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith.’ Now that is the love that is the wedding garment.

"The Apostle Paul said: ‘If I speak with human tongues and angelic as well, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong, a clanging cymbal. … If I have the gift of prophecy and, with full knowledge, comprehend all mysteries, if I have faith great enough to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing’ (1 Corinthians 13:1-2). He said that even if he had all that, without Christ ‘I am nothing.’ … It would be useless, because I can act in that way for love of glory … ‘If I have not love, it is of no use.’ That is the wedding garment. Examine yourselves: if you have it, then come to the Lord’s banquet with confidence."

More from Zenit

… and Paul

The reading from Philippians 4:12-14.19-20 may as well an autobiographical note from the apostle who has experienced how to live from the kindness of God and men, as he follows the path of the Suffering Servant. This can be read as the testimony of one who has lived generously in view of the eschatological banquet.

Isaiah 25:6-10
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6And the Lord of hosts shall make unto all people in this mountain, a feast of fat things, a feast of wine, of fat things full of marrow, of wine purified from the lees.
7And he shall destroy in this mountain the face of the bond with which all people were tied, and the web that he began over all nations.
8He shall cast death down headlong for ever: and the Lord God shall wipe away tears from every face, and the reproach of his people he shall take away from off the whole earth: for the Lord hath spoken it.
9And they shall say in that day: Lo, this is our God, we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord, we have patiently waited for him, we shall rejoice and be joyfull in his salvation.
10For the hand of the Lord shall rest in this mountain: and Moab shall be trodden down under him, as straw is broken in pieces with the wain.
1 Corinthians 11:29
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29For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord.
1 Timothy 1:5
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5Now the end of the commandment is charity, from a pure heart, and a good conscience, and an unfeigned faith.
1 Corinthians 13:1-2
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1If I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2And if I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
Philippians 4:12-14
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12I know both how to be brought low, and I know how to abound: (everywhere, and in all things I am instructed) both to be full, and to be hungry; both to abound, and to suffer need.
13I can do all these things in him who strengtheneth me.
14Nevertheless you have done well in communicating to my tribulation.

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