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Caution: Putting a Sunday homily on the Website is tricky business. All the viewer has is a written text. A homily, on the other hand, is "an oral event". It may not have been said or heard the way it was written. In addition, a roughly ten-minute homily is part of a roughly one-hour worship event in which God and God's people communicate with each other by means of ritual, symbol, song, proclamation, prayer. Not everything in these homilies is original. As a homilist, I rely on and at times borrow from other homilists and writers who are not properly mentioned in this format. I am often indebted to them.

Father William Marrevee, s.c.j.

28th Sunday Ordinary Time Year A

The opening lines for today’s first reading:
          “On this holy mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
          a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines,
          of rich food filled with marrow,
          of well-aged wines strained clear.”
It sounds as if God is getting things ready for a thanksgiving dinner. We are dealing here with an image of the Kingdom of God , the heavenly banquet. It may not be a bad idea to use the reading as you begin your thanksgiving dinner. It could serve as an incentive to make us hunger and look forward to the sumptuous feast that God will be hosting and to which we are all invited.

Yes, the first reading and the Gospel reading give us an image of what it will be in the end: a feast, a celebration, a banquet. No talk here of destruction, of annihilation, of Armageddon; but a feast, a banquet, a feast of rich food and choice wines savoured in the company of a God who will be the gracious host. The setting of it will be a mountain – that is not a question of geography, because in the Bible the mountain is that special place of communion with God, of God’s intimate and approachable presence. And on this mountain God will “destroy the shroud that is cast over all peoples,
           the sheet that is spread over all nations;
           he will swallow up death forever.
           Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces…”
Yes, God will destroy the enemy that still hangs over us, death and anything that smells of death.

That is God’s promise for all. If our thanksgiving dinners can make us hunger and long for that heavenly banquet, then they will be good thanksgiving dinners.

There is another instance where we anticipate that great feast. It is here, when we come together for Eucharist on Sunday. Here too God is the host; and we are God’s guests.. In our sharing the bread and the wine, the Body and Blood of Christ, we are privileged to “nibble” on the banquet that God prepares for all. Here we receive a foretaste of the feast that God prepares for us.

And all are gathered here by God, with no consideration of power, of prestige, of pocket book. Access to the promised feast is not based on human accomplishments or human worthiness. It is a sheer undeserved gift for us all, based on God’s stubborn fidelity to his promise, based on God’s limitless love for us all.

It saddens me that there is so much talk nowadays about certain people who should be excluded from the Eucharist. I am not suggesting that anything goes. But before we start being so sure about who should not be here, let us be more like those who were rounded up from the byroads to be gathered into the wedding banquet. They were rounded up not because they were worthy, but a gracious God wanted them to be there; and that same gracious God wants us to be here at His table, and He has rounded us up from wherever we have come from. It is more proper for us to be humbly and joyously grateful to find a place at the Table of the Lord.

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