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!
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. It can be too easy to find an excuse not to come to Sunday Mass. However this year is different because of the pandemic, the dispensation from the Sunday Mass obligation is still in effect, and people who are more vulnerable to infection are encouraged to stay home. Nevertheless I have heard from many families who gather to watch a Mass on television or computer. While they say it is not the same—and it isn’t, especially because they cannot receive holy communion—it is a testament to their desire to observe Sunday as a holy day and to keep Sunday Mass at the heart of their family’s observance.
Next Sunday is World Mission Sunday. There will be more to say about this next week. 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.
By now you should have received in the mail information about the Diocesan Annual Appeal. All of us are beneficiaries of the Church’s ministries and apostolates. With gratitude for what we have been given, and aware of our obligation to support our brothers and sisters, let us each consider carefully what we can give to the Diocesan Annual Appeal over the next nine months and make a pledge today. Thank you.
October is the month of the rosary. Join Madison Bishop Donald Hying this Sunday evening at 7:30 for a pro-life rosary at <diolc.org/live>. Last week’s rosary, the first in the series, was led by Bishop Callahan. You can see that and hear his introductory remarks at that same site. His remarks begin at 15:00. Listen carefully.
Pray the rosary this week for the needs of the victims of recent natural disasters and acts of violence. Pray for our nation and the decisions to be made in this election year on any level of government. Pray for good weather for the fall harvest and for the safety of all working to bring it in. Pray for greater respect for human life and dignity and, as always, pray for peace.
May God bless his people with peace.