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Pastor's Letter 20231015 - 15 October 2023 - Destiny Shaped by Faith

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October 15th, 2023

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time


Many are called, but few are chosen

A Message from Father Michael

Today’s Theme:

“The Banquet is Ready”

Reflections on Today’s Scripture

(Isaiah 25:6-10)  Isaiah uses the image of a banquet to describe the blessings God wishes to bestow not only on Israel, but on all nations.

The eternal banquet of God is a sign of His unlimited love, care and self-gift to humankind, within the parameters of time and space.  


(Philippians 4:12-20)  Paul thanked the Philippians for their support, but says that his real strength comes from the Lord.  We are to prepare for the “feasting” by learning to hunger and thirst for the One Who fulfills all needs.

Paul related his sufferings for the Gospel (from prison,) to the trials and struggles of the “last days” that were believed to immediately precede the “Second Coming.”


(Matthew 22:1-14)  Isaiah’s promise is fulfilled in Jesus: through him all God’s people are invited to the banquet feast of the Kingdom,  By our words and works in this life, we formulate our R.S.V.P.

As a metaphor for the reign of God, Matthew presents the “Banquet” as a challenge to those invited for a worthy response.  He believed it to be a “present reality,” as did Jesus.  Those guests first invited symbolized the “chosen people,” who turned their backs on Jesus and His message.  The first servants were the prophets; the second, the apostles, whose mission was first directed to Israel.  By inviting “everyone you can” from the byways of life, Jesus points to those throughout the world who are invited to partake, having repented of their sins—provided they are “garbed” in an appropriate garment, that is, having been baptized.  

Our Response to an Invitation

If people know anything about Jesus, it is that He was a consummate storyteller. Jesus’s parables have the remarkable ability of engaging our imaginations and challenging our assumptions, even today. Jesus did not teach in parables to provide blanket affirmation for the way we understand God, ourselves, and other people. Rather, He taught in parables to motivate us to re-examine some of our most cherished convictions about matters of eternal importance. For this reason, Jesus’s parables often unsettle rather than reassure.  Jesus’s parable of the wedding feast does just that.

Suppose you are hosting a party….  You’ve fixed the date; drawn up a list of people you wish to invite; sent out the invitations, prominently emblazoned with “R.S.V.P.”  Then you wait for responses.  Basically, you can expect three types:

  Some accept the invitation, which makes you feel very happy.  But there are “degrees” of acceptance: “half-hearted” agreement to come, by those feeling an obligation to attend; and, “enthusiastic” responses, with honor and gratitude for the offer.

  Others may refuse to come—and though this may be hurtful, at least you “know where you stand,” with those people.  Degrees of refusal also exist: a prior engagement may prevent attendance; others may simply not have an interest—they could come, but they don’t want to.

  Another reply is a “non-response.”  You wait for an answer, but none comes.  This is probably the worst outcome.  If people refuse, you know their intentions, but this way, you are left wondering:  “Could there be an unresolved problem?”  You most likely will never know.  If you were to contact them, they might say, “Oh, I meant to respond, but….” In the end, you’re left with an “empty” feeling.

Our Blessed Lord doesn’t compel us—He invites us.  A command can’t be so easily ignored, but an invitation can.  Advertisers can’t compel us to buy their products, but they can resort to all sorts of “gimmicks” to entice us.  But God has too much respect for our freedom for those tactics.  

Many times, we don’t know what we really want, or even what is good for us.  What we seek, really value and desire, are often not the same thing.  Perhaps we are so busy, our lives are so full, that even the Almighty has difficulty in breaking through to us. 

We are God’s children, and like any loving parent, He knows what is best for us.  But when we reach the age of consent, there is very little even good parents can do to compel our obedience.  Like them, God has called us to an intimacy with Himself; into a community with others.  At death, He will call us into eternal life. 

Both Isaiah and Jesus emphasized that the Lord’s invitation was not an exclusive, high-society event.  Everyone is invited, regardless of one’s state of life, position in the community, material wealth, race, age or handicap.  (The mixing of social groups was just as radical a concept in Old Testament and Jesus’ times as it is in ours.)  The Pharisees of Jesus’ day shunned tax collectors and sinners—but these “sinners” accepted Jesus before they did.  It’s similar, in that today, some educated and financially secure people often shun the Gospel, while the poor and humble embrace it eagerly. 

In the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, we are invited to taste our Creator’s great love.  When we participate in the Liturgy, our desire and readiness for the heavenly banquet to come is increased.   

We must ask ourselves how we will respond to the God’s invitation to the wedding banquet of His Son and the Church.  Will we humbly accept it, or be too preoccupied with worldly affairs?  Will our hearts overflow with love and gratitude for the Lord’s gift of refreshment and the opportunity to dwell in His house, forever?

As long as we draw breath, we have the opportunity to accept the invitation.  To ignore it, altogether, is the worst form of refusal.  Indifferent people are the most difficult to convert.  

May God Richly Bless You!


God's Love is Everlasting.docx

View a recording of today's Holy Mass here:


Edited by Father Michael
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