Celebrating Mass

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

11th October 2020

Year A – Psalter week 4

The Parable of the Marriage Feast

The Parable of the Marriage Feast is an allegory about salvation history which culminates in the coming of Jesus Christ.  The “king” is God the Father, who prepares a wedding banquet for his “son”, Jesus (the background of this wedding feast may well be taken from today’s first reading from Isaiah, where the salvation of God’s people is presented as a joyful banquet).  The “servants” are the prophets of the Old Testament who were sent to call the people of Israel back into communion with God.  The initial guests who did not respond and those who maltreated and killed the servants are the people of Israel who did not heed the message of the prophets and those who persecuted them.  The “city” that burnt down can be understood as being Jerusalem, which was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70, with the Temple being completely raised to the ground.  The other “servants” who are subsequently sent are thus the apostles who then invite everyone, Jews and well as Gentiles, good and bad alike, to the wedding feast of heaven.[1]

An important feature in Matthew’s account of the parable is that a guest in the wedding hall is found to be “not wearing a wedding garment” and is subsequently thrown out.  What deeper meaning, then, is there in wearing a wedding garment?  St. Augustine of Hippo says the following: “Whatever can this wedding garment be, then?  For an answer we must go to the Apostle [i.e. St. Paul], who says: ‘The purpose of our command is to arouse the love that springs from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a genuine faith’ (1 Timothy 1:5).  There is your wedding garment.  It is not love of just any kind.  Many people of bad conscience appear to love one another, but you will not find in them ‘the love that springs from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a genuine faith.’  Only that kind of love is the wedding garment… Examine yourselves to see whether you possess it.  If you do, your place at the Lord’s table is secure.”[2]

The wedding garment, then, is a symbol for the loving and righteous deeds that we perform which accompany our faith.  With regards to this, and to Jesus’ teaching about the kingdom using parables, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states the following:  “Jesus’ invitation to enter his kingdom comes in the form of parables, a characteristic feature of his teaching.  Through his parables he invites people to the feast of the kingdom, but he also asks for a radical choice: to gain the kingdom, one must give everything.  Words are not enough, deeds are required.  The parables are like mirrors for man: will he be hard soil or good earth for the word?  What use has he made of the talents he has received?  Jesus and the presence of the kingdom in this world are secretly at the heart of the parables.  One must enter the kingdom, that is, become a disciple of Christ, in order to ‘know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven’.  For those who stay ‘outside’, everything remains enigmatic.” [3]

The Parable of the Marriage Feast is thus, once again, a call to each of us from Jesus to follow him closely, to truly be his disciples, to place our lives and our gifts at his service, and to allow him to mould and shape us into the people whom he has created us to be, and lead us to dwell with him in heaven for all eternity.

[1] See Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, New Testament.
[2] Journey with the Fathers, Commentary on the Sunday Gospels, Year A, Edited by Edith Barnecut, O.S.B., New City Press, 1992, p. 132-3.
[3] Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraph 546.

God Bless

Fr Andy

Download Father Andy’s reflection here

First Reading

Isaiah 25:6-10

The Lord will prepare a banquet for every nation

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Responsoral Psalm

Psalm 22(23)

In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell for ever and ever

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Second Reading

Philippians 4:12-14,19-20

With the help of the One who gives me strength, there is nothing I cannot master

Read Here


Matthew 22:1-14

Invite everyone you can to the wedding

Read Here

Sunday Message and Look

Download this weeks Sunday Message and Look (for our younger parishioners) by clicking on the images, for all the readings for this week, as well as the prayers during mass and the usual weekly thoughts and reflections.  

The Word was made flesh and lived among us: to all who did accept him he gave power to become children of God. Alleluia!

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