The image common to today’s First Reading, Responsorial Psalm and Gospel is the banquet God has prepared for his people. It is the banquet of life (First Reading); it is the wedding feast of the Son of God (Gospel). In the Gospel the king (God) becomes angry because those invited make excuses not to come. Who would do such a thing? Who would refuse such an invitation to come to the most important banquet of one’s life? Surely not we! Unfortunately, it happens every Sunday. Some studies say anywhere from 60 to 75 percent of those of us invited refuse to come. Why? Here are some of the common excuses. “It’s raining.” “We are on vacation.” “The Packers are playing.” “It’s our only day to sleep in.” “It’s boring.” “We have other things to do.”
The banquet to which we are invited is the Mass, “The foretaste and promise of the paschal feast of heaven.” The Mass consists of two principal parts, the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Using the image of the banquet for the Mass, the Introduction to the Lectionary for Mass (the book from which the readings are proclaimed) states:
The Church is nourished spiritually at the twofold table of God’s word and the Eucharist: from the one it grows in wisdom and from the other in holiness. In the word of God the divine covenant is announced; in the Eucharist the new and everlasting covenant is renewed. On the one hand the history of salvation is brought to mind by means of human sounds; on the other it is made manifest in the sacramental signs of the Liturgy. (n. 10)
The king in today’s gospel becomes enraged when the invited guests do not come to the feast. If we continually refuse God’s invitation to the eucharistic banquet, how can we count on an invitation to the heavenly banquet?
Next Sunday is World Mission Sunday. There will be more to say about this next week, but a second collection will be taken up at next weekend’s Masses. There is an envelope for this collection in your envelope packets and there are envelopes also available in both churches for those who need them. Please be generous in support of the Church’s missionary effort throughout the world.
I know there have been a lot of appeals for your generosity recently. The appeal for disaster relief was not planned, but a response to a sudden need to help people affected by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Your generosity has been outstanding, if you have noticed the amounts in recent bulletins. The Mission Sunday collection, which will be taken up as a second collection next weekend, was never included in the Diocesan Annual Appeal because the people of our diocese have a long tradition of generous support to the missions and it was decided not to sever that connection by wrapping it up in the Diocesan Annual Appeal. In two weeks Monsignor Joseph Hirsch will be here to make an appeal for the support of Casa Hogar Juan Pablo II, our diocesan orphanage near Lima, Peru; and a second collection for that appeal will be taken up the weekend after that. This is our mission coop appeal for this year and we were assigned that weekend because of Monsignor Hirsch’s schedule. Then there is still the Diocesan Annual Appeal. I regret that all these appeals are coming one after the other, but that will be all until the Retirement Fund for Religious Appeal in December. I hope you have noticed that I have suspended the Sustaining Fund collections at St. Charles during these months to take away a little of the pressure on your generosity.
Last weekend volunteer forms were distributed in the bulletin for both parishes. Please consider where you would like to help or continue to help. More forms are available in the church entryways. There is an immediate need for more liturgical ministers at both parishes—readers, servers, communion ministers, ushers and sacristans. Training sessions will be offered for these ministries. Please return the forms in the collection baskets as soon as possible because scheduling liturgical ministers for December through February will soon begin.
Continue to pray the rosary this week for the needs of the victims of recent natural disasters and acts of violence. Pray for good weather for the fall harvest and, as always, pray for peace.
May God bless his people with peace.