Commentary on the Gospel of
The reading from Isaiah depicts a great banquet. The psalm is the familiar Good Shephard passage. In the excerpt from Paul’s letter he thanks the Philippians for their support and reflects on God meeting one’s needs. The Gospel is the parable of a great feast to which those who are originally invited respond with a variety of excuses. Subsequently anyone that can be found is invited.
I see the first reading as preparing the stage for the Gospel. A banquet becomes the setting for God’s ultimate reward. The psalm depicts the security brought about by the Good Shepherd. I see the same kind of security promised to the faithful in Paul’s letter. I find it interesting that Lectionary brings these passages together with Matthew’s version of the parable of the great feast rather than Luke’s. In Luke’s Gospel it is simply a feast with servants extending invitations. In Matthew’s Gospel it becomes a king’s wedding feast for his son, the servants end up being slaughtered and a city destroyed.
My sense (enlightened by the comments of some scripture scholars) is that the Gospel of Matthew moves the parable into the context of the Gospel’s author, likely a Jewish Christian in late first century. This story of a king and his son become a story of God the Father and God the Son with the Jewish people as the original invitees. The prophets can be seen as the first set of servants. The early Christian martyrs can be identified with the servants who are met with violence and the original readers of this Gospel would have been well aware of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem a couple of decades earlier.
I see in my own nature that rather than being someone who would not have come, I am a person who would have arrived late and come with a mind that was not focusing on the main event. While my wife is always early, I have a history of being chronically late. She calculates that over the years she has spent thousands of hours waiting for me to finish up at work. Although I would always be on time for my classroom and meeting assignments during my teaching years, I was almost always late for Mass. When my children were small, I would go so far as to plan to be late so that efforts to keep them quiet and in order would be a briefer ordeal. Even without my children, tardiness occurred, and my mind continues to drift even to this day because I, like those in the parable, too often yield to a false set of priorities.
I can remember in Catholic grade school being taught a song about this parable. In its verses we would sing our excuses about how we could not come to the banquet. Were the nuns trying to tell us something about their lack of confidence in us with respect to our future deportment?
My prayer today focusses on recognizing what is important.
So often I fail to place my attention where it should be placed.
The world in which I live is a source of competing demands.
I have numerous responsibilities and I want to live up to them.
Guide me in setting my priorities.
Help me to direct my investments of time to best be of service.
Allow me to recognize the guidance provided by the Good Shepherd.
Have you ever thought about creating an e-book or guest authoring on other websites? I have a blog centered on the same ideas you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information. I know my subscribers would enjoy your work. If you are even remotely interested, feel free to send me an e-mail.
An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a co-worker who has been doing a little homework on this. And he in fact bought me breakfast due to the fact that I found it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending some time to discuss this subject here on your blog.