Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Both the first reading and the Gospel speak of a banquet, but do so in different ways. The first reading presents the joys of those who can participate in the feast where YHWH is the host. In this banquet, the best foods and wines will be brought out and all sadness, war, and even death, will be ended (Isaiah 25:6-7). On this feast day, the people will rejoice because it will be the Lord who saved His people.
The Gospel presents the banquet in a less cheery way. Commentaries have viewed this Gospel as Jesus presenting salvation history through a Christian perspective. God, through Jesus, extends an invitation to the Jewish leaders, but these individuals have unfortunately refused the invitation. In rage, the king sets about the destruction of their city, which many interpreted to mean the Romans destroying the city of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Thus, the invitation is cast to a wider group, those “along the highways” (Matthew 22:9), in short, invite anyone, good and bad alike. However, just because someone is invited to the banquet does not mean she or he can stay as noted by the individual who is kicked out of the feast (Matthew 22:12-13). This is reaffirmed by the closing verse of “Many are invited but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14).
Given these two views of the banquet, may we be open to enter the banquet rejoicing because God has invited us to share with Him the eternal banquet where all sadness and tears have been wiped away.