Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A - 9/10/2011 - Gospel: Mt 22, 1-14
If by sheer luck you, a commoner, have been honoured to be on the guest list for a royal wedding. You would feel happy and nervous- happy for being chosen among the many and nervous for lack of knowledge about the protocol and the royal life style.

In preparation you make it your first priority, reschedule your daily activities. You quickly notify the royal office in charge of the ceremony of your acceptance and seek their advice on how what you should prepare for that day. You also learn about what to say and about how to behave at the ceremony and the feast. You are happy to inform your friends about the trip and promise that afterwards you will tell them about it. You need to book tickets and hotel in advance. The preparation for the trip is quite demanding and yet it is exciting.  Preparations for the wedding feast need to be done from both ends, the royal family and the invited guests.

None of the above preparation was done on the part of the guests in today's reading-Mat 22. Lack of preparations is a clear sign telling people they are not interested.  They prepared nothing for the feast and ignored the invitation. The king sent the second round of invitations but they all declined. Whether they are joyfully attending the royal wedding or refusing to come, the wedding is going ahead and the wedding hall is filled with different kinds of guests.

The king expects those who come to the royal wedding accept that love is the foundation of their lives. They need to participate in the celebration wholeheartedly, full of joy and love with a thankful heart.  Love is also the foundation of the Eucharist which represents the heavenly banquet on earth. When we come to the Eucharist we need to prepare ourselves worthily to receive God's love. We come to the Eucharist with a thankful heart, a heart filled with joy and love for God and for others. Filled with God's love and empowered with the words of God we are commissioned to later on bring that love for others. We become Christ bearers for others. We become the agents of God's love.

Refused to wear a wedding garment or conform to the rules of the wedding hall was a sign of lack of respect towards the host and other guests. It is the same for the Eucharist. We should come to the Eucharist well prepared. We should not take the Eucharis for granted. We do not come to the Eucharist in our own terms. The invitation to the royal wedding is a challenge to respond. The invitation to the Eucharist is the sign of God's love we need to respond to. We should respond with genuine love, with utmost respect and reverent. The Eucharist is God's grace that nourishes our soul and empowers us to be agents of God's love for the world. We should come to the Eucharist with joy and a sense of urgency.

Unfortunately, people of the modern world behave in the same manner as the guests invited to the royal wedding two thousand years ago. We live in a similar crisis with regard to the invitation to the Eucharist and other sacraments. We make excuses not to respond to the invitation. We protest with criticism and judgment and even abuse servants who spread the message. We ignore the call to repent and make claims that we have the full rights to do what we wish with our lives. We believe life has its own urgencies and needs that are far more urgent than the call to the kingdom. The parable concludes that the wedding hall filled with different guests and that judgment often falls upon the person who judged.