Homily October 12, 2014 28th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Much of our Christian history and even the prior old testament times always involved the notion of meals and food. It is only natural, since one thing all of us must do on a very regular basis is eating to sustain ourselves. Generally, eating is an enjoyable and a social experience. In most societies it is central to family life, bringing a family together to share and converse. Jesus throughout his ministry was often accused of eating and drinking with the outcasts of society. This was just not done in a class oriented society. Jesus, of course, ignored them as he even attacked them for they were not concerned with so much the law and work of God but of themselves and their own lives. The parables we see today were written after the destruction of Jerusalem and very definitely a condemnation of the Jewish leaders and an encouragement for the gentiles in the church. The issue of circumcision had been decided, but Matthew was still writing to the Jewish Christians, trying for the acceptance of the Gentiles. Thus the parables are very allegorical.
But for a moment, let us stop and consider the Eucharist and the early gatherings. As in the last supper, the Eucharist was celebrated at a meal. There were no churches and after all Jesus had made it part of his farewell dinner with his intimate companions. As the centuries have progressed, we have kind of lost that social aspect of the Eucharist. It is still food and drink, but now we enter a church, sit in rows of chairs and pray and meditate quietly. My point is we are a family, and I know of no family that eats silently. Prayer and communing with God is important, but so is seeing and caring for each other. As a community, a family if you will, we have talents and gifts which can and do make us all really one. The kingdom has begun and is now and is later. What comes later we don’t know now, but what is now we can help to work and bring our fellow believers together in it. God is our agenda, his love is ours and our love should reach not only him but all whom he loves. That is why we celebrate his forgiveness, express our peace with one another, and share his Body and Blood.
And so the real banquet we are called to should leave us joyful as if our family has once again reunited and renewed their faith and love and spent real-time together. This is our banquet, our Eucharist. That is the invitation we answer, and the garment we put on is Christ and that we all did at Baptism. Keep him close and He will never leave .