28th Sunday in Ordinary time
Philippians 4:12-14, 19-20
In many cultures, inviting guests and providing a meal is a sign of hospitality. In Vietnam, some people will be surprised when they hear of simple meals that turn out as lavish banquets. For our lives, we will be more surprised when we join the banquet of God.
Isaiah (Isa 25:6) presents the idea of the banquet which has rich food and fine wines. At the banquet, there will be rejoicing instead of suffering or mourning. This idea comes out in the middle of traumatic events: the destruction of Jerusalem, the exile, and the feeling of God’s abandonment or absence. This is the hope for everybody who is in the middle of a suffering situation.
More specifically, Jesus speaks about the wedding banquet in Matthew’s Gospel. All are invited, but few attend. As expected, there is always a reason for the absence. Those who desire to attend take up the opportunity to do so, but those who do not want to attend, look for excuses. Unexpectedly, the unworthy people become the most privileged attendants because the banquet of God is for everybody who accepts the invitation and attends it. Attendants, however, without proper garments can be thrown out.
As attendants, are we surprised when we join a banquet or a meal? Or do we surprise others with an invitation for a meal?
I believe we should not be surprised by the lavish God who invites everybody to the banquet. For God, there is no difference between rich or poor, full or empty, plenty or poverty. With God’s help, we can master everything (Phil 4:12-14).
Let us be surprised by God and surprise others with our generosity and hospitality. Let us accept the invitation of God and put on the proper garment for the lavish banquet.
JD Tân T CP is a Vietnamese Passionist who lives and studies further at the Holy Cross Retreat, Templestowe.