Daily Reflection
October 10th, 1999
Larry Gillick, S.J.
Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality

The Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 25:6-10
Phillippians 4:12-14, 19-20
Matthew 22:1-14

"On this mountain," and "On this day," are the words of Isaiah telling of the advent of the Messiah's great appearance.  There are promises of a wonderful feast and a tearless happiness.  For those who have looked for the coming of the Lord, there will be rejoicing because the promises have been kept by the saving hand of God.

This reading is a comfort for those who are presently experiencing such abundance and peace.  For those who find themselves patiently, or impatiently, waiting for that day, this reading is more of a desperate hope.  "When" and "How long o Lord!"  Paul, in today's second Reading, speaks of having lived in both conditions of having and not having.  And again in this reading he writes a famous line which is easier or more difficult to hear, depending on our material condition, "I can do all things in Him Who strengthens me."

Those who are presently enjoying the feast of plenty, do not have it all.  Abundance does not subtract us from longing, reaching, thirsting and aching for that very thing that abundance promises, but can not provide.  They too are on their journey towards the more, the center, the day of the Lord.

Those who are in want have a double longing.  They too reach for the hand of God while reaching for the out-stretched hand of the well-provided for.  All of us lean toward this "mountain" where there will be no weeping and grinding of teeth.

The Gospel speaks of the Kingdom of God as a great banquet as well.  Matthew presents us with a parable which is meant to catch his listeners attention and anger.  As with last Sunday's parable, Jesus' Jewish listeners hear about something which was their possession, but now, no longer their's exclusively.  The king's table, invitations and second call to attend have been ignored.  His servants have been mistreated.  He then calls anybody around to gather together to replace the first-called, "the bad and good alike."  This is where we come in and begin our own "messianic Age."

Our human history centers around God's throwing this huge party and how we sometimes attend and sometimes find more important things to do.  We have a collective history of being invited by all sorts of notes with the simple, "RSVP," within EACH ONE.  Our chief struggle as humans has been a tendency for immediate gratification; if there has been a promise, "Where's the beef!"  The pay-off and the promise have to be extended in the same hand.  The rich and the poor, the good and the bad, the you and I are the invited and we sit at the table of life with our longings as a side dish or main course.  This is how we dress for acceptance.  If we come to this mountain of God's love without being aware of our longings, needs and aches for God, then we are excluded and we go out into the weeping and grinding of teeth, not by God's anger, but by the result of our being self-satisfied and self-stuffed.  We dress in our human poverty which is common to us all.  Those who are materially poor in this world are the more properly dressed, because they look very much like Jesus and the way Jesus regards our true worth is not what we have, but what we share. "On that day," Jesus will wipe away the veil that veils our view of who we are in His eyes and our riches will melt into embarrassing trinkets.  Come Lord Jesus!

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