Jesus’ Endless Wedding Banquet

Jesus’ Endless Wedding Banquet

Almost every day the news media bring into our living rooms immediate images of harrowing pain, hardships, and death from our country and from other parts of the world. We love Jesus too much to be able to turn away from those horrible scenes unfazed, unaffected. The most painful aspect of our empathy for these unfortunate people must be our powerlessness to do something tangible and concrete to alleviate their suffering besides our thoughts and prayers, and the occasional donation.

Our readings for the Third Sunday of Easter underscore a very comforting truth: God notices and appreciates even our most modest efforts and signs of caring. God can also, at the same time, redress misguided efforts and bring about something good out of errant or imperfect ways. For instance, Peter’s audience, (cf. Acts of Apostles 3: 13-19) acting out of misguided good intentions and ignorance, crucified Jesus Christ; but God raised him up because it is impossible for God to let death and sin keep us under their hideous domain.

The Lord doesn’t look at us and our parish communities with detachment, as an impartial news reporter. No, our Lord looks at us enjoying with anticipation what we are called and meant to be, whenever we will be ready to embrace his peace. He rejoices in the people we shall become once all our fears, hesitations, doubts, and errors will have been uprooted, destroyed, and replaced by his shalom

And throughout this process, our Lord looks at us with immense gentleness and tenderness. His is not a sterile prediction, but already a foretaste of what he is about to do in us, for us, with us. Truth be told, we already have within our share of experiences, examples (albeit modest due to our timid expectations) of this vision of a glorious future. Think, for instance, of the dreams you started dreaming when you fell in love with your spouse; on the day your child was born; on the day of your children’s graduations; when you moved into your new home. With the hope-filled eyes of a lover you saw your future intertwined with theirs.

Hence, it should not surprise us that God looks at us with so much hope because of the enormous emotional investment he has in our wellbeing. St. John reminds us of that: “But if anyone does sin, we have and Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one.” (1 John 2:1)

Jesus is committed to our cause to the point of dying. Jesus is successful to the point of defeating even death. And, as the best Advocate that he is, the Lord shows up to allay our fears and assures us that everything will be OK. Notice the first words of our gospel reading (Luke 24: 35-48): While they were still speaking about this. It is the endless “now” of God: at every moment of our life, we are under his constant care and watchful eye.  

This is HIS present, the present in which he draws near us. This is HIS present, the present in which he anticipates our uneasiness and discomfort. This is HIS present, the present of boundless love, in which he takes the initiative and offers us his peace. It is not just a hurried attempt at soothing us, but evidence of his intention of working on our hearts with his Holy Spirit. The result will be a high degree of harmony, serenity, tranquility, and inner peace. 

Oftentimes, he finds us absorbed in our problems. Indeed, we carried them into our church, too, because they are imbedded in our minds and hearts. They can engross us so much that we would think we are seeing a ghost. Hence, they can also keep us in our sadness and away from the fullness of Jesus’ peace.

His efforts to reassure us are very simple and very effective. He does so through a meal. Interesting: it is the very same way our mom or grandma used to settle us down when we were kids. They did it with a hot bowl of home-made soup; with milk and cookies, or a slice of our favorite pie. It is through a meal that we welcome him back into our shaky and unsettled group; it is through a meal that we become his family again; it is through a meal that we rediscover that we can fully count on him, to a much lesser degree on each other, and that we are protected and cared for.

Hence, now we have another reason for coming to church every Sunday, to befamily with Jesus. Our forefathers offered him some baked fish; we offer him bread and wine and the collection basket filled with the fruits of our labor and our plans, dreams, aspirations as well as our limits and setbacks. Every Sunday, this Meal gives us purpose and resolve. And this Meal fills our hearts with hope because it is Jesus’ solemn pledge of his endless wedding banquet in heaven.

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