28TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR A
It is very interesting to see all the readings of today talk about food and drink. It is not surprising since food is one of the most basic human needs. Just like in our country where food is difficult to get, it happens everywhere even during the time of the prophet Isaiah and during the time of Jesus. Most of our works everyday is for the purpose of having food on our tables.
In the first reading of today, the prophet Isaiah describes the coming of the messiah as a time when there will be abundance of food and drink as well as peace and tranquility. It is easy for us to think about heaven in human terms and think that enjoyment is about having plenty to eat and drink. The prophet Isaiah also describes the coming of the messiah as a time when all our earthly struggles such as sickness, natural disasters, diseases, sorrow and tears as well as death will be brought to an end. These are what we see and hear everyday, and there are people who have never experienced anything other than pain and suffering.
In the gospel reading, we see Jesus compare the heavenly kingdom to a wedding banquet where everything has been prepared in abundance, ready to be eaten by the guests. The Jews were the first to be invited to the heavenly banquet, but they were too proud to attend, just the way some rich people will not attend programme when invited.
We all have been invited to the wedding feast, everything is ready to be enjoyed free of charge. Nevertheless, we must wear the garment of holiness, faith, love, forgiveness, mercy and similar virtues. When we talk about heavenly enjoyment, it may not be about food and drink. According to St Paul in Romans 14:17, the kingdom of God is not about food and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. In 1 Cor 2:9, St Paul also tells us that it is what no eye has seen and no ear has heard, what the mind of man cannot visualise; all that God has prepared for those who love him.
In his letter to the Philippians as we see in the second reading of today, St Paul prays for the people in Philippi who assisted him during the time he spent with them preaching the gospel. It was not easy for St Paul to preach the gospel among those who had no food to eat, but with assistance from some people, he was able to assist others. He learnt to live without food or drink. As human beings, we need food and drink to survive, nevertheless, let us not forget that if we store them up instead of sharing with those who are hungry and thirsty, God will ask for our garment of kindness and generosity on the last day.
We pray for the grace to think beyond the things of the world. God help us. Amen.