The Nineteenth Sunday After Pentecost
In our Old Testament lesson the prophet praises the Lord for destroying the cities of the ruthless and for providing a refuge for the poor. Now comes the banquet of the Lord’s salvation. God is the ultimate source of security. The great feast takes place on the mountain of the Lord’s temple, Mount Zion, where heaven and earth figuratively meet. The banquet will be for all people, and even the power of death will be overcome.
The Lord is shepherd and guide. God is present in time of danger and spreads a table for the one who needs comfort.
In his letter to the church at Philippi, Paul invites the new disciples to exult in joy in the Lord who is near at hand, and he thanks them for their most recent gift. They need have no anxiety because God’s peace, which is beyond human understanding, will keep their hearts and thoughts in Jesus. They should fill their minds with all that is noble and loving, putting these things into practice as Paul has taught them to.
Our gospel reading presents a parable about those who declined invitations to a marriage feast and others who were then invited, followed by the story of a guest who came without wedding clothes. As the evangelist presents the parable of the feast, it is an allegory about the rejection of the Jews and the acceptance of Gentiles into the kingdom. At another level, the story suggests that God’s kingdom will become known whether people are prepared for it or not. It is a divine gift. Included will be all kinds of people, many of them not considered worthy by worldly standards. The second parable, originally a separate story, makes the point that one must be ready for the kingdom at all times; the invitation comes unexpectedly