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Homily for the Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time Isaiah 25:6-10; Philippians 4:12-14,19-20; Matthew 22:1-14 Saint John Baptist de LaSalle October 15, 2023 Last week I was alerted to a weather warning: For North Wilkesboro and all of Wilkes County, frost warning from 10pm to 10am. It never happened, at least not at my house. However, it reminded me that winter is coming, and it did cause me to take action. It was time to pick the remaining vegetables in my garden and bring my large potted plant back indoors.

My vegetables were mostly Bell Peppers, I picked a lot of them but not all, it was my potted plant that I was really concerned about. My large potted plant is a Spider Plant, I got it in Alaska about fifteen years ago, it has not done too well this summer, but I’m not willing to let it go. Today’s Gospel can leave many people a bit confused. St. Matthew’s story of the marriage feast represents the Church of the present time, while the same story, told by St. Luke, represents the heavenly, eternal banquet. “The King sends out his servants to summon guests to his son’s banquet.” The way the Church understands this passage is really very simple, “to have been called into the Church is already to have made the cut, we have been called out of the world.” Even here on Earth, the Lord is ready to break bread with us, and those who serve the Lord must invite others to the feast which is the Church.

The Synod, called by Pope Francis is about to change our world. The Pope is asking that we speak with and listen to the Holy Spirit, that we listen and speak with each other, that we realize all are invited by to be Church. Yes, everyone is invited into the Church, all are invited to the feast of heaven and earth.Yet there are those, and we know some of them, who sense what the Church is. However, they don't answer the invitation and do not come to the feast. One person is concerned with how much pleasure they can get from life, while another is devoted to the business of this world. Neither takes notice that God became a man and lived among us, nor are they willing to live in accordance with it. Yet, one way or the other, this invitation finds its way into the human heart. The call goes out to every land and place, to every person, both the great and the small. Then comes the culling.

Notice that the person ejected from the feast did not sneak into the wedding banquet. Everyone invited was unworthy of entrance, so “who will be found worthy to remain?” That is the question, though we must be careful in how we go about judging others. Our Church is not one possible good among others, nor is it an option to consider when time permits. No, the Church is God’s invitation to all people, God’s call into history, and, weathering within history, our Church is subject to faults and failings. Weeds will grow in our midst, but we are not to judge how the call should have been made. We must remember the warning. Winter is coming when nothing blooms.

Our lives are but a single season. We must answer the call and enter the feast, where we await a banquet under a sun that never sets. Will we be found worthy to remain at the feast if we are not wearing the wedding garment? This is not a question we can take for granted.

What do you think is meant by wearing that wedding garment? If you say that it is our baptism, our faith, you are correct, for who of us here has entered this wedding feast without them. However, there are people still outside because they have not yet come to believe. Some are not wearing the wedding garment simply because they do not have love. What can we understand about the wedding garment but love?

St. Luke’s banquet that is yet to come, and St. Matthew’s feast are celebrations. They are all about love, offered and demanded. Love is made flesh in the Son, who invites us to his feast, and love is required of all those who have been invited. Love is the wedding garment that is demanded. We must clothe ourselves in love if we are to remain in this feast and weather the winter to come. Never doubt, that love, and love alone, can clothe us.

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