OFFICE FOR LITURGY

of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Salford

Twenty Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

The Church’s year is drawing to a close: in a few weeks we will be thinking very clearly about the end of time - but here we have a preview. The parable of the banquet is a link between the Gospels of recent weeks (which have as their theme: ‘Just who is going to be saved?’) and the looking forward to the end times which will follow. The big danger is complacency: we are baptised, we go to Church, we’ve got our invites to the wedding. But when the big day comes, will we be ready for it ? Or will our thoughts be on the other things of life ? Jesus speaks of himself as the Bridegroom, and today points out to the chosen people that they are in danger of missing the celebration. Our faith is that the Bridegroom will come again; let us be careful that the same parable is not addressed to us.

Notes for Readers

From the Catechism

First Reading: Isaiah 25:6-10.
 
“Almighty God requests the pleasure of your company at a banquet to be held in his honour at the end of time”. This is the meaning of this reading - it is an invitation to take part in something wonderful. It should, therefore, be read in an inviting tone of voice, but with a sense of wonder thrown in, because the things offered at this feast are truly remarkable: the end of mourning, the end of death. Some words are naturally full of expression: ‘fine wines...food rich and juicy’ - enjoy reading them. There is also the amazing comfort offered by the reading: use great tenderness to read ‘wipe away the tears from every cheek’: there will certainly be someone recently bereaved in the congregation: ask yourself how the Lord wants you to speak these words of his to them.  There should be a tangible atmosphere of awe in your reading, coupled with the great sense of joy and excitement which the last few lines speak of. Perhaps it will help your reading if you think about the fact that the Eucharistic Banquet, at which we read, is itself a foretaste of the banquet described in the reading. Let your sense of what the Mass is inform your reading, and let this reading inform you about what the Mass is.
 
Second Reading: 4:12-14.19-20.
 
Paul signs off his letter in a rather abrupt way: notice the short phrases and sentences. Don’t try to string them together as a complex passage - just read them in a matter of fact way. Paul is telling the people of Philippi not to worry about him in his trials - whatever happens, he has all he needs (when reading, enjoy the phrase ‘full stomach or empty stomach, poverty or plenty’). Something that comes from this reading very strongly is this: talk to the congregation. Don’t just read because the words are in front of you: Paul has something to say to them today. Let him say it!
CCC 543-546
Jesus invites sinners, but demands conversion

CCC 1402-1405, 2837
The Eucharist is the foretaste of the Messianic Banquet

CCC 1402 - 1405
In an ancient prayer the Church acclaims the mystery of the Eucharist: "O sacred banquet in which Christ is received as food, the memory of his Passion is renewed, the soul is filled with grace and a pledge of the life to come is given to us." If the Eucharist is the memorial of the Passover of the Lord Jesus, if by our communion at the altar we are filled "with every heavenly blessing and grace," then the Eucharist is also an anticipation of the heavenly glory.
At the Last Supper the Lord himself directed his disciples' attention toward the fulfillment of the Passover in the kingdom of God: "I tell you I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom." Whenever the Church celebrates the Eucharist she remembers this promise and turns her gaze "to him who is to come." In her prayer she calls for his coming: "Marana tha!" "Come, Lord Jesus!""May your grace come and this world pass away!"
The Church knows that the Lord comes even now in his Eucharist and that he is there in our midst. However, his presence is veiled. Therefore we celebrate the Eucharist "awaiting the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ," asking "to share in your glory when every tear will be wiped away. On that day we shall see you, our God, as you are. We shall become like you and praise you for ever through Christ our Lord."
There is no surer pledge or dearer sign of this great hope in the new heavens and new earth "in which righteousness dwells," than the Eucharist. Every time this mystery is celebrated, "the work of our redemption is carried on" and we "break the one bread that provides the medicine of immortality, the antidote for death, and the food that makes us live for ever in Jesus Christ."

Gospel Wordsearch