(The Wedding Feast – Mt 22, 1-14)
Fr. Joseph Nguyen, O.P.
A king prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to summon the guests to the banquet, but these refused to attend. Finally he told his servants, “Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.” So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.
We understand that the wedding banquet in this parable refers to the celestial banquet to which God invites all peoples in the world to come to share. He invites everybody, both the bad and the good, the rich and the poor, men and women, young and old without discrimination whatsoever with regard to their skin colors or social positions. But not everybody responded favorably to God’s invitation.
There are many people who refuse God’s generosity, just as the invited guests in the parable turn down the king’s invitation and do not come to the banquet. The Good News has been proclaimed thousands of years to the world, calling them to participate in the banquet of heaven, but there are still a good many of people who decline the invitation for many reasons, either because they are not interested in the call of God, or they have many other things they think more important to do here on earth. Of course, God can’t impose on their will; he can’t force people to follow and to love him. Believing or not believing, attending or not attending the banquet of heaven totally depends on their freedom and choice.
Fortunately, however, millions and millions of people over the world have heard God’s invitation and did come to believe in the Gospel. Millions of Christians have responded to the call of God, and thousands of saints who have become special guests of God’s banquet, who are colored, black, white, yellow, brown, Asians, Africans, Europeans, Amercians. Among our congregation here today, we see some from the
from India, from Srilanka,
from Canada and, of course,
from . Vietnam
Eve Lavalliere was a famous French movie actress at the beginning of the 20th century. She lived in a huge luxury mansion in Paris. Once, during her summer holiday in the countryside, she met and talked with an old but pious parish priest. The meeting changed her life. One week later, to the surprise of friends and fans all over the world, she decided to give up her acting career and began leading a simple life like an ordinary woman. Many people regretted over her decision, others critized and even ridiculed her saying that it was her trick to make herself more famous. But putting aside all this mockery and criticism, she left Paris and moved to live in a small town far away from the pomp and luxury of city life.
One day an American news reporter came to see her. He offered her a check, telling her that she could write any sum of money on the check she wished, even one million dollars, with only one condition that she would give him a few stories of her life. She refused the offer and said : ”My soul is nor for sale. Now it belongs to God.”
My dear brothers and sisters,
Once we have come to know God and tasted the goodness of the banquet of heaven, we are ready to give up everything else here on earth. Worldly glory, wealth, money, fame will become futile and meaningless. For as Saint Augustine said : “Oh God, you have created our heart for you alone. Therefore, our heart will not rest until it rests in you!”
Fr. Joseph Nguyen, O.P.