Sunday Homily by Rev. Fr. William Eronimoose MI (Camillians)
Today’s first reading speaks of a great feast or banquet. It is a banquet on mountain Zion, the holy mountain in Jerusalem. God prepares this banquet to celebrate his love for all people. This is the universal salvific will of God for all people.
In the second reading, St. Paul evidences his total trust in the Lord as the one who removes all tears. St. Paul has experienced abundance and nothingness, great success and utter poverty, freedom and imprisonment, high tide and low tide. Yet, in every circumstance he has learned to trust God and recognize that all things are possible in Christ who is God’s providence in prima persona.
In the Gospel passage, God is calling the guests for the wedding feast of his Son Jesus. But the wedding guests, the Israelites reject the invitation. As they reject God’s offer of salvation in Jesus, Jesus opens the door for all the nations, Gentiles included, to the feast. Yet, still some will reject the invitation and others will come without preparation as in the one not wearing a wedding garment.
The three readings in nutshell speak about God’s offer of salvation, which is the universal salvific will of God in Jesus. The celebration indicates the victory of Jesus over death through his resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus points the way to salvation of all who will participate in the life of Jesus. This is the will of God that all be saved, that is, the veil/web/darkness over the nations will be lifted up. God destroys death and also opens the doorway for Gentiles. In other words, Jesus comes to invite all people to his heavenly banquet in order to wipe away their tears.
But the crucial point of the readings is whether believers or non-believers accept this offer of salvation in Christ and to own up this invitation with the dignity that God has given us in Christ or not. The failure to accept God’s salvation in Jesus and to come to receive his salvation without the preparation God wants of us is due to our inability to understand the true nature of God.
God’s invitation to accept his offer of salvation reveals the true accommodating nature of God. This accommodating nature can be compared to the Latin word ‘viscere’ which means the abdomen or the belly or the bosom or the stomach of God where all people can enter and celebrate God’s delicious banquet. Stomach or belly is the place where one feels satisfied of one’s intake of delicious food. God’s belly is the place where all people get accommodated so as to get satisfied with his banquet. As the viscere of a mother for her child is a place of safety, love and affection, so is the viscere of God.
History proves that God has made his viscere as a permanent place of love and affection, joy and celebration in Jesus through his victory over death and through resurrection. Thus Jesus has become the new Zion, new holy temple, new tabernacle, new viscere, new belly, new bosom in which he has willingly accommodated all, including the Gentiles. Whoever comes to Jesus is given the never-hungry and never-thirsty state because it is the viscere of God that is at work in Jesus.
So, coming to the feast, seeing Jesus and experiencing him is the work of God in order that the uniqueness of Jesus as the Saviour is preserved and maintained. God the Father wants that his Son Jesus offers his viscere, his belly, his stomach, his abdomen so that we feel accommodated and satisfied by whatever good comes out of this viscere of Jesus.
In nutshell we can say that God has begun the project of saving the people not abstractly but concretely through Jesus when he accepted that project and culminated it through his death on the Cross. For this continuation and culmination, Jesus is rewarded with resurrection by which He still continues God’s saving plan.
The work of every priest, every religious and every lay faithful today in the world is to collaborate with Jesus in the continuation of his redemption without carrying out any other plan or project. Inter-congregational, inter-provincial, inter-diocesan and inter-lay community project is nothing else but our collaboration with Jesus to accept and accommodate the people in our viscere. Every priest, religious and lay faithful is the face of Jesus’ collaboration with God to accommodate everyone in his viscere.
Our life is a great project of God, thought again and again several times by the Creator before making it come true and He needed Jesus to cooperate so that the actualization of this project (coming to this earth) and the implementation of the same (working for the project) has taken place. So, Jesus invites us to accomplish this task in and through our cooperation.
We have to give our viscere, our belly, our bosom, our abdomen, our stomach as a tabernacle to all irrespective of colour, caste, language, rite and culture so that all can get accommodated in, to get satisfied of their thirst or hunger for Jesus.
For this, we have to accept the fact that Jesus has accommodated us in his bosom irrespective of our unworthiness, our eligibility. He accepted us without our merit. It is a free acceptance without any payment. Once we understand we are accepted freely and unconditionally, we are invited to accommodate others in our bosom to feast and celebrate.
But unfortunately there are some who deny this free offer of salvation because they want to save themselves with their own eligibility. Some others accept God’s accommodation but they don’t want others to enter into God’s belly. They carry out their ministry only to avail of their belly for their own people. They carry out their own project to preserve themselves and their dear and near ones. But God is impartial, inclusive, and universal and He cannot accept partiality, exclusiveness and particularity. God is a merciful God who can accept those who are willing to enter into his viscere to enjoy his prepared feast.
But God is also a just God who cannot accept those who fill their belly and the belly of their own people. He will ask the just ones to bind their hands to be thrown out of the wedding banquet of universality, inclusiveness, impartiality, justice and mercy.
Cooperation with God’s acceptance of people into his bosom is a dynamic movement with dynamic personalities for a dynamic life of everyone. All those who don’t cooperate with this project of God will be bound and thrown into the dark in which grinding and gnashing of teeth will take place.
Today let us cooperate with Jesus to accept everyone in our bosom because cooperation is an operation with Jesus for a successful surgery so as to give back to the person his/her own vigour so that there is celebration and festivity. If any alterative is done, let us bind and throw away the ones who cause this alternative.
Let us come to Jesus again if we went away from his viscere; let us perceive Him again so that we perceive the world with his eyes; let us believe in Him again because we can give him to the world; let us eat him so that we can become what we eat; let us get accommodated into his bosom so that we can accommodate everyone.
Let us become the viscere of Jesus to accommodate everyone for the feast prepared by God for his son Jesus.