Saturday, October 08, 2005



OCTOBER 9, 2005

ISAIAH 25:6-10
On this mountain the LORD of hosts will provide for all peoples a feast
of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.
On this mountain he will destroy the veil that veils all peoples, the
web that is woven over all nations; he will destroy death forever. The
Lord GOD will wipe away the tears from every face; the reproach of his
people he will remove from the whole earth; for the LORD has spoken. On
that day it will be said: "Behold our God, to whom we looked to save
us! This is the LORD for whom we looked; let
us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!" For the hand of the LORD
will rest on this mountain.

PHILIPPIANS 4:12-14. 19-20
Brothers and sisters: I know how to live in humble circumstances; I
know also how to live with abundance. In every circumstance and in all
things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry,
of living in abundance and of being in need. I can do all things in
him who strengthens me. Still, it was kind of you to share in my
distress. My God will fully supply whatever you need, in accord with
his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father, glory
forever and ever. Amen.

MATTHEW 22:1-14
Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and elders of the
people in parables, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a
king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants
to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come. A
second time he sent other servants, saying, 'Tell those invited:
"Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are
killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast."' Some ignored the
invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business.
The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them.
The king was enraged and sent his troops, destroyed those murderers,
and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, 'The feast is
ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out,
therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you
find.' The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they
found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests. But
when the king came in to meet the guests, he saw a man there not
dressed in a wedding garment. The king said to him, 'My friend, how is
it that you came in here without a wedding garment?' But he was reduced
to silence. Then the king said to his attendants, 'Bind his hands and
feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be
wailing and grinding of teeth.' Many are invited, but few are chosen."

In ancient times, kings announced the approximate time for a wedding
banquet weeks in advance. The exact day of the banquet was given at a
later date. To say "yes" to the advance invitation and then say "no"
at the later date was an insult.

It was this kind of situation that Jesus had in mind in today's
parable. The audience for whom Jesus intended his parable was the Jews
of his time. Ages before, they had accepted God's invitation to be his
chosen people - his special guests at the banquet of the kingdom of
God. But when Jesus came to announce the banquet, they rejected his
invitation. It is clear how Jesus' parable applied to the Jews of his

Today's Gospel actually contains two parable: The parable of the great
messianic banquet with all the bakya-crowd, the squatters, the slum
dwellers gulping up the lechon baka and drinking their fill of beer and
champagne, and singing the equivalent of "For he's a jolly good

The second parable is the parable of the Guest without the Wedding
Garment, a fellow from the streets, who did not find time to wash
himself and his clothes clean, coming to the banquet with his stinking
outfit. You find this only in Matthew's version of the parable.

Why did Matthew take another parable of Jesus, and insert it here? Fr.
Walter Burghardt of Georgetown University explains that once the
parable of the Great Banquet was applied to the Christian community, it
ran the risk of being misunderstood. Did the life of the community
have nothing to say to the sinner? Did Jesus' invitation not call for
change, for conversion, for clean clothes? Were the baptized free of
any moral responsibility? The evil persons were as welcome as the
good, and could remain evil?

The second parable told the community, "You don't have to buy a tuxedo,
a coat and tie, or a barong Tagalog, but whatever you wear has to be
washed, has to be clean. You have to change."

So back to the main parable, what is the king's banquet all about? In
short, it is salvation - the salvation of the world. But to
understand it, we must go back to history, the situation in which
Matthew wrote the Gospel. Remember Matthew and the other apostles did
not follow Jesus during his public life with notebooks and laptop to
take notes of everything he said and did.

No, Matthew was writing for a community in transition, a community in a
process of change. They were mostly Christians of Jewish background.
It was about the year 85 AD. And the community was confused, in
tension and conflict, confused by false prophets and teachers. The
question was what does it mean to be a Christian? Are they a special
sect within Judaism? The non-Jews were persecuting them. There was
betrayal and hatred within; widespread wickedness causing love to grow
cold. In response to all these, Matthew retold the story of Jesus from
the conception to after his resurrection.

Today, the Church faces a somewhat similar situation as the Christian
community of Matthew's time. Like Matthew's time, people ask, "Have we
lost our catholic identity? What would Matthew have to say to our
Church today, beset with so many doctrines and different practices?"

First, he would say, "You do have an identity, a Catholic identity.
Part of it is an identity you share with other Christians. With them
you profess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Like them you are united
to the Father and to one another through Christ in the Spirit.

"In part, you are different; for you express your commitment to Christ
through a body of beliefs, a system of Sacraments, an order of
authority that other Christians cannot totally share. I think deep
inside us, we experience what it means to be a Catholic Christian."

Second, Matthew would say, "You have a wider mission than to your own
parish community. You are a community of love, alive with and for one
another." In this context, if you ask, "Is your mission just your
parish?" Matthew would have answered, "No, the world is your parish!"
No priest can tell you where your mission is concretely. Perhaps it's
right in your home, your family, or in your school, or work place,
where you relax and recreate, your shopping mall, or the sick in the
hospital. In our modern technological world, perhaps
your mission is in the cyberspace. I'll leave that for you to
discover with the help of the Holy Spirit."

Third, Matthew would repeat, "Whatever your mission is, it will fail if
you cannot coexist with your divisions. Today there is a certain
confusion within the Catholic Church. There are a variety of
spiritualities and practices from the Opus Dei to the Jesuit
spirituality, from the Charismatic to the very traditional practices,
from the strictly sacramental Church to a socio-pastoral Church. The
point is this kind of tension that tends to divide us can be
redemptive. Whether in our own parish or in the Archdiocese, our
nation, or the universal Church, we will have hurts and wounds to bind
- our own and others': the fears and tears, frustration and anger,
loneliness and loveless-ness, bitterness and envy, even the frightful
feeling that "I am lost".

This is not really something new. This has been the human condition of
the Church for more than 2,000 years, since the time of St. Paul. If
we do not confuse unity with uniformity, with the number of fanatical
groups that claim that they are the only ones to be saved, hell must be
so overcrowded that it is breaking loose. Christ must be weeping over
how Satan is gaining so much more without even trying. But since God
is so generous in creating us, he will also be generous in redeeming

A healthy tension must exist between the charismatic and the
institutional elements of the Church for our faith to grow. The
Charismatic is alive to the movement of the Holy Spirit. And the
institutional discerns and regulates our response to the movement of
the Spirit.

When we receive the King of the Banquet, the number of people that come
to partake of the Banquet each week at each Eucharistic celebration
must tell of the sweetness of the Lord. Much of that sweetness depends
also on all of us who partake - how well, how lovingly, how joyfully
we party in Christ.

We pray ...
- for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the
- for the speedy recovery of Annika Nadine Uy.
- for the speedy recovery of Alice.
- for the speedy recovery and well-being of Vanessa Nicole Lee Lim.
- for the speedy recovery of Ben Ong.
- for the speedy recovery of Conchita Tan.
- for the personal intentions of Rikit Navarro.
- for the special intentions of Teresita Guinto.
- for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Birthday: Cora Chiong
- Birthday: Ellery S. Lim
- for world peace and reconciliation.

Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our
prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.

Have a good day!

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