Celebrate Sunday Mass - 10.15.23

OCTOBER 15, 2023 -- 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

10/15/2023 (1 month ago)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

My friends, brothers, and sisters in the Lord

In an Apostolic Letter entitled"The Lords Day" (Dies Domini),Pope St John Paul II gave a summary of the Christian understanding of Sunday, and underscored our obligation to honor the Lords Day. The Letter began with these words:

"The Lord's Day - as Sunday was called from Apostolic times - has always been accorded special attention in the history of the Church because of its close connection with the very core of the Christian mystery. In fact, in the weekly reckoning of time Sunday recalls the day of Christ's Resurrection. It is Easter which returns week by week, celebrating Christ's victory over sin and death, the fulfilment in him of the first creation and the dawn of "the new creation" (cf. 2 Cor 5:17). It is the day which recalls in grateful adoration the world's first day and looks forward in active hope to "the last day", when Christ will come in glory (cf. Acts 1:11; 1 Th 4:13-17) and all things will be made new (cf. Rev 21:5)".

Sometimes, Catholics and other Christians refer to Sunday as a "Christian Sabbath". Though well intentioned, this is incorrect. Sunday is "the Lords Day". This apostolic letter cites the biblical sources and the writings of the early Church manuals and early Church Fathers. The readings for the Sunday Mass set a framework for us to reflect on throughout the coming week.

Our first reading this Sunday is taken from the 25th chapter of the Messianic Prophet, Isaiah. The Lord promises to provide a rich Feast on Mount Zion for all of His people. Like so much in the Book of Isaiah, the early fathers saw this passage pointing to Jesus Christ, the Messiah, and the Wedding Feast of the Lamb spoken of in the Book of Revelation, the last Book of the New Testament. The reading is eschatological, in that it speaks of the destiny the Lord has for all His people. If we put our hope and faith in Jesus Christ, and choose to live our lives for Him, He will not only care for us in this life but has prepared an eternal destiny of joy for us in the life to come.

David the Psalmist, in the familiar Psalm 23, we heard that that the Lord, the Good Shepherd, will spread a table before us and anoint us with oil. Also pointing to this wonderful Feast. Do we believe this? Do we live our lives now as if there is a life to come?

In our second reading, we heard an excerpt from the letter the Apostle Paul to the Philippians. He explains that one of the key elements of demonstrating that we do live our lives in this world as if we believe there is an eternal life awaiting us is how we relate to the goods of this earth.

Paul writes "I know how to live modestly, and I know how to live luxuriously too: in every way now, I have mastered the secret of all conditions: full stomach and empty stomach, plenty and poverty. There is nothing I cannot do in the One who strengthens me." Now that is living faith. It is also the path to freedom in this life - and a participation in the life to come - beginning even now. Do we know that we can do all things through the One who strengthens us? Do we receive everything from Him, as a gift, are we giving all back to Him through a life of service?

Finally, in the Gospel passage (Mt. 22:1-14) Jesus gives us the parable of the wedding feast given by a King. He tells us that the "Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son." He is the King. We are all invited to the Banquet. The Bible, from beginning to end, uses marriage as a metaphor and a symbol to reveal the plan of God. Marriage was God's plan from the beginning as we see in the first book of the Bible, the Book of Genesis. Throughout the Old Testament, the Lord speaks through His messengers to remind Israel that He has espoused her to Himself. Then, in the fullness of time, he sent the Bridegroom, Jesus, the Christ, his only Begotten Son, to initiate the New Israel, the Church - through His saving "Incarnation" - His conception, life, suffering and redemptive death. At the cross he espoused Himself to the Church, which is now His Bride.

Wedding language informs the entirety of the New Testament, culminating with the Wedding Feast of the Lamb which opens the portal of the mystery to reveal God's plan fulfilled in eternity. This is the mystery to which the Apostle Paul so often points in his letters to the early churches. For example, at the end of his important instructions about marriage to the early Church (Ephesians 5) he opens the mystery up with this line, "This is a profound mystery-but I am talking about Christ and the church." (Eph. 5:32) The Church is the Bride of Christ.

We have all been invited to the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. (Rev. 19) How are we living our lives in response? Are we clothing ourselves in virtue by cooperating with grace and growing in holiness? Are we getting ready for the Marriage Feast of the Lamb? That is how the final book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation, refers to the end of the age and the beginning of the Kingdom to come. Are we preparing ourselves for the eternal wedding day? Are we getting ready for the Feast?

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