Gospel Reflection Oct 15 – Deacon Frank Iannarino
Sunday, October 15
Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
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.”
Being from a large Italian family, food and feasting was a very large part of my experience growing up. Always having plenty of food on hand was the way of life in the Iannarino household. My Mom and Dad would always say “…everyone loves a feast … ” and that was true in ancient times as, I still believe, it is now.
It is not surprising that the biblical writers use feasting imagery to give us a sense of God’s overabundant generosity. In our gospel this weekend, Jesus will use a parable that deals with feasting. Jesus gives us the image of a king providing a wedding feast for his son – the most extravagant image that could’ve been chosen at that time and place – to place before us the shocking reality that we do not always accept God’s abundance.
Like the characters in the parable, sometimes we are too busy with our material lives – our cares, our worries – to accept the invitation to the banquet, or even to notice that we are constantly being invited.
And so, the banquet hall will be filled, not necessarily with the most virtuous, or the most powerful leaders but with those who are merely willing to hear and accept the invitation. This gives us reason to rejoice, for in other words, none of our imperfections or failings are a barrier to God sharing his abundance with us.
In a homily in 2021, Pope Francis assured us, “…the Eucharist is not the reward of saints, no, it is the bread of sinners.” This Sunday, may we heed Our Lord’s invitation and come together to the greatest of feasts at Christ’s table, accepting the invitation to share in God’s lavish abundance, so we may go out and lavishly share it with all.
Deacon Frank Iannarino