WEEKEND HOMILY
© Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church 2019


                                                                 

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinaly Time

September 1, 2019

  I once read that “women who behave themselves, rarely make history.”   That kind of a statement is really kind of an excuse to behave badly and to get noticed for it, because people like Madam Curie, who won Nobel Prizes for Chemistry and Physics and Mother Teresa, who won the Nobel Prize for peace, were not only well behaved but humble as well.  Their legacies live on in the good work they did and in selflessness with which they did it.

 Humility of this kind is not found in every person and the Gospel for today speaks of people jockeying for places of honor at a banquet.  Honor and position as well as ego are at play here, humility is no where to be found.  Apparently the people invited to the banquet Jesus was attending were people who wanted to see and to be seen by others who were not as well positioned, nothing else seemed to matter.  Whether we are one of those people or not, we have no doubt seen this kind of situation in action and thus can relate to what is being described.  In the parable Jesus is telling, He is describing a wedding celebration.  Weddings and the reception that follows are times for celebration and within that context we can perhaps write off the simple play of ego and jockeying for position that was taking place at that time, but as Jesus constructs His parable, He is trying to tells us through the example of the wedding guests, that while there are moments of status and prestige in the world, that in the eyes of God, a holy, humble, contrite heart and the needs of others should always be primary in our lives, and yet, God calls us to greater glory if we but attend the banquet He has prepared for us.     

 The greatest place of honor is at the table of plenty, the altar of Eucharistic sacrifice where we are all guests of honor.  Every Mass is an opportunity to come into the true presence of Jesus in the Most Holy Eucharist, where every meal is a holy meal and there are no low or high seats, but rather each seat is exalted by the one who has invited us, Jesus Himself.   It may appear to be bread and wine, but through the power of God, these common elements become the body and blood of Jesus Himself, the source and summit of our worship and the essence of the Mass, the Eucharistic banquet.  

 To our Lord, you are the most important guest, each and everyone of you, and no one will ask you to move to a lower place, but,…we are not called to exalt ourselves at the altar, we are called to worship God, who exalts us through His invitation and His Divine presence in the Eucharist.

 Do not worry about the trappings of the world.  Our position with God is the only one that truly matters.  God invites us to share with Him in the holy and eternal banquet where He offers us Himself in the MHE.  We cannot approach God in arrogance, defiance or indifference and expect the experience to change us, because We cannot earn God’s love, we do not deserve it, it is gift.  This gift is holy beyond all understanding and precious beyond measure.  As such, it should never be received unworthily.  Out of profound, deep and infinite love, God calls to us.  We are His honored guests, even though we are many, God focuses on each of us, singly and uniquely as only God can and calls in faith, love and humility to the banquet of His love.

  Rev. John Gracey