Begin with a few moments of quiet.
The intention is to open yourself to the presence of God within you and among those gathered.
Invite all present to sit comfortably.
When sitting comfortably, take three deep breaths, as you breathe in feel your lungs filling all the way up, when they are full slowly release your breath and feel your lungs emptying out fully. Repeat this three times.
Now return to breathing normally and make the sign of the cross:
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Invite each person present to take a few moments to reflect on:
Where in the past week did I encounter God in my life?
Where in the past week did I inhibit God in my life?
Allow time in quiet for this and then, after a few moments, invite those present to share on this, if they are comfortable to do so.
If you like to have some quiet music playing during this click below.
Introduce the Gospel
On this Sunday we celebrate the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
In the parables of Jesus, wedding feasts are mentioned from time to time. The original parable may have ended with the words “invite everyone you can find to the wedding.”
The detail of the troops—highly unlikely as an actual part of a wedding invitation(!)— realistically portrays the later destruction of Jerusalem, which Christians did indeed look back upon as punishment precisely for that rejection. The final verse is difficult for us today on a spiritual level. However, it is meant to provoke (re)conversion in a possibly (!) complacent church.
Read the Gospel – Matthew 22:1-14
Read the Gospel aloud, even if you are on your own.
Jesus began to speak to the chief priests and elders of the people in parables: ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a feast for his son’s wedding. He sent his servants to call those who had been invited, but they would not come. Next he sent some more servants. “Tell those who have been invited” he said “that I have my banquet all prepared, my oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, everything is ready. Come to the wedding.” But they were not interested: one went off to his farm, another to his business, and the rest seized his servants, maltreated them and killed them. The king was furious. He dispatched his troops, destroyed those murderers and burnt their town. Then he said to his servants, “The wedding is ready; but as those who were invited proved to be unworthy, go to the crossroads in the town and invite everyone you can find to the wedding.” So these servants went out on to the roads and collected together everyone they could find, bad and good alike; and the wedding hall was filled with guests. When the king came in to look at the guests he noticed one man who was not wearing a wedding garment, and said to him, “How did you get in here, my friend, without a wedding garment?” And the man was silent. Then the king said to the attendants, “Bind him hand and foot and throw him out into the dark, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.” For many are called, but few are chosen.’
Reflect on the Gospel
Sit quietly now for a few moments and allow the images created by hearing the Gospel to emerge. Use some quietening music again if you wish
When you are ready, ‘sit with’ one or more of the following questions to open up different elements of this Gospel reading.
- Scripture often speaks of the kingdom of God as a banquet. It is not meant to be taken only as referring to life after death but it also shows how God wants us to be in our relationships with one
another in this life. The image of people being at a meal where everyone is happy and welcome and where all hunger and thirst is satisfied gets across the idea that God loves, accepts and welcomes us and wants us to make that experience available to one another.
Think of times in your life when you have had “banquet” experiences and when you have felt accepted and loved?
- The host enlists the help of his servants to invite people to the banquet. We are commissioned by the Lord to invite people to the banquet of the kingdom, to the fullness of life—as parents, teachers, friends, etc.
What has it been like for you to play a part in leading others to a fuller life?
- There are many ways in which we can reflect on the guests invited, e.g.
a) The ones invited first all found excuses to refuse the invitation.
How do you feel when someone turns down an invitation you offer? Have there been times when you have found excuses to refuse an invitation from the Lord, or from others? What effect did this have in your life, or on others?
b) The second round of invitations went out to “everyone in the streets, good and bad.” What is it like for you to receive an invitation, particularly when you do not consider yourself worthy of that invitation?
c) Notice that the banquet of the kingdom is an inclusive one.
When have you given an open, inclusive invitation to others?
- As in the parable last week there is a message about being alert to invitations that offer a fuller life and the danger of losing out if we neglect to respond to such invitations.
Perhaps there have been opportunities offered to you that you missed, and now regret. Think also of the blessings you received because you seized the moment and took an opportunity that presented itself.
- The second parable puts the focus on how we respond to invitations. Some invitations are ones that challenge us to change, to conversion, to put on a ‘wedding garment’.
What has been your experience of changing in response to an invitation you received?
Close the time of Prayer with the Our Father
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Take a moment now to bring to mind those you want to share peace with, family, friends, those where your relationship is broken.
Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil,
graciously grant peace in our days,
that, by the help of your mercy,
we may be always free from sin
and safe from all distress,
as we await the blessed hope
and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen
Fr. Kieran O’Mahony offers a scriptural analysis on the Readings in Written or on Video
The Spirit of God is seeking to create a newness in our lives, that calls us to a fresh wholeness that requires much letting go of what we have known, and co-creating with God an undreamt-of future for our church, for our world and for ourselves. This does not mean forgetting the past, which has brought us to the present.
The Gospel life is about a new future in God. In an incarnational, evolutionary universe nothing is complete and God is still creating. We are a central part of this creation which is happening in our midst.