In June 2016, the photos of late Sister Maria Cecelia an Argentine nun, who died smiling on her death bed went viral on the internet. People were shocked on seeing someone smiling despite the fear and excruciating pains of death. What would have been the reason for this unusual gesture? Many were asking.
Sr Cecilia was known to have lived a holy life. She is an ardent lover of the rosary and the poor.
The striking significance of the solemn phenomenon that happened at her death bed was that Sr Cecilia suffered greatly due to cancer that affected her lungs. But at her death, she became calm and was seen smiling.
Her face was beamed with joy as she passed on, unlike what we see today. One striking comment made about her says “ truly there is a joy for the righteous at last”.
Today, Jesus uses the analogy of the King’s feast to explain in the first place that there is an eternal banquet awaiting all. God is inviting every person to this eternal banquet.
This eternal banquet was first of all for the jews but they seem like people who are not ready for it. They give excuses not to partake in it. Hence, God invited not only the jews but all of us.
So, everyone is invited to this eternal joy, but to be fully part of this eternal banquet we have to prepare and dress in the robe befitting for the banquet; which is the robe of righteousness.
The Royal Wedding.
In the gospel, Jesus uses the wedding feast organised by the king to make us understand his message.
In the Jewish community, marriage feasts are taken in high esteem. Then, Jesus uses this to explain the eternal banquet and joy that await us at the end of our lives.
God’s invitation to partake in this great feast of His son Jesus Christ was extended to the Jews first. They refused to accept Jesus as the messiah.
They refused to accept this invitation, paid no attention to it and even persecuted the prophets and the disciples that God sends to them.
The gospel says that the servants invited everyone they met both worthy and unworthy. This indicates that God does not restrict the attendants of this royal feast only to the Jews. The feast is now open to all both, Jews and gentiles. So, He also invites us, to be part of this joy. The question today is “how ready are we to partake in this eternal banquet?
In the parable, just like many that God calls, occupy themselves with many things in this world, and forget their souls. We also occupy ourselves with many things in this world. We do not think about how our last end will be. Therefore, we seem not to be ready for that yet. If God calls us today, how ready are we?
The Robe for the Feast.
Before one attends a feast, He needs to dress in the proper attire. When you do not dress in the proper attire, they may treat you with scorn. No one goes to the feast without preparing and dressing in a befitting attire.
This is the reason we have to prepare ourselves for the eternal banquet.
Despite that God invites all of us, He still requires us to put on the robe necessary for this great feast.
To know what robe is that we have to seek the help of the Prophet Isaiah. Isaiah captures this when he says “I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation
And arrayed me in a robe of His righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels (Isaiah 61:10).
Therefore, we have to clothe ourselves with the robe of righteousness to be part of this feast. Without holiness, no one can see God ( Hebrew 12:14).
This is in fulfilment of what God tells the Israelites when He set them apart. He warns them “You are to be holy to me because I the Lord am holy. I have set you apart from the nations to be my own” (Leviticus 20:22).
Now since God has extended this invitation to all, He also extends this requirement to all of us. Therefore holiness is priceless.
Today’s gospel reveals two times the King was angry.
1.First was against those who rejected and persecuted the servants.
2. Second is the person that was not in the garment befitting the marriage feast.
The above reasons explain that the refusal to accept this invitation, indifference and lack of concern about our salvation can lead to God’s anger at last.
Also, the inability to enrobe ourselves with righteousness and good deeds can make us lose eternal joy.
Therefore, as we try to make it in this life which is temporary, never forget the eternal life.
In this gospel, Jesus reveals that the joy that is awaiting us, at last, is beyond our imagination and understanding.
St. Paul says “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him. ( 1 Cor 2:9). Let us prepare ourselves daily to be part of this eternal feast, so as not to regret it at last. Let us always prepare for the eternal banquet.
May God have mercy on us and give us the grace to journey to the end. May He give us the strength to conquer our challenges. Amen