28A – 15 Oct 2023

28A – 15 Oct 2023

Come to the Feast

Message by: Fr Richard M Healey

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In this message, Fr Richard discusses the significance of accepting invitations and celebrating, drawing parallels between a British woman named Sarah Wilkinson who held her wedding without a partner, and biblical stories. He highlights the disappointment of guests not attending events and the joy in celebrating God’s love. Fr Richard stresses the importance of Christians allowing God’s word to influence their lives and to be fruitful witnesses of His goodness. The conversation underscores the importance of celebration in the context of weddings and spiritual life.

Who has ever been to a wedding? Who has ever organised a wedding? Who has been invited to a wedding, said that yes, you will come, but then didn’t show up. Nobody. That’s good. We’re at least on the right page. I read this article during the week of this woman in Britain, Sarah Wilkinson, who decided after 20 years of planning and preparing for her wedding, saving up money for the wedding, that the fact that she didn’t find a partner to get married wouldn’t stop her going through with the wedding. And so she organised a friend of hers to conduct the ceremony that included 14 different vows that Sarah promised to keep, including that she would never relinquish control of the remote. And then she just married herself, essentially, and then went across the road with the 40 chosen guests and the £10,000 budget, and had a big party to celebrate. Now imagine you’re Sarah, and you’ve spent these 20 years getting things ready for this perfect wedding. The fact the groom didn’t show up well, that’s one thing.

(00:01:16) – But what if the guests also didn’t show up? You know, her special chosen friends weren’t there. I mean, how would Sarah feel if, after all of this preparation, all of this planning everything, trying to come together for the perfect wedding and for so many people, particularly females, probably there is this, this imagined sense of what the perfect wedding is all about, what it might be, what might happen, and then if people didn’t even bother to show up, even when you were the son of the king and you sent the troops to go and to gather people, and they still didn’t come, they still came up with excuses. How would you feel? How would that make you feel with the different scenarios that the gospel presents to us today? I could imagine you’d be pretty furious as well. You’d be pretty upset. Pretty annoyed that how dare they. After all this time, all this energy, you know, like having seen the way that my, my family and my nieces and nephews have put together their wedding, so much work they’ve poured into it, just the incredible amount of creativity and wonder and joy, but a whole lot of incredible

(00:02:34) – hard work that goes into preparing an event like this. And then to come and the wedding hall is essentially empty. So you can see why the King desires to go collect people, collect everyone. Because there is this, this heart of welcome. There is this desire that the Lord is expressing that we come and celebrate. It’s not about just a whole series of rules and regulations, things that we have to do. The Lord’s desire is to celebrate, to be part of this incredible party. You know that first reading is often used in the prophet Isaiah chapter 25 at funerals, and it always seems most appropriate, and that the funeral environment, because it captures something of the very heart of God, that desire that indeed we will gather for this feast on the Lord’s mountain, people will stream to this place from every single place, and there there will be the choicest of foods, the most amazing meats, the best wines that you could possibly imagine, the sense of celebration, this sense of desire, the sense of longing that is there and that’s God’s will.

(00:03:45) – And God’s desire is that we would experience the party, the celebration, and that we would not stinge and not be caught out in the midst of that. I mean, I can’t imagine why those people didn’t accept the invitation. Perhaps they just had it in for the king for political reasons or or whatever. But that sense of coming to the party, allowing God to invite us into life. But we know that experience as well. We know what it’s like to to sometimes forget to do the right thing, that there are times when indeed we haven’t put on the wedding garment, when we haven’t clothed ourselves in the works of righteousness, when we haven’t allowed God’s goodness to shine forth in the depths of our hearts. You know, the sad truth is that many Christians haven’t actually let the Word of God so deeply penetrate into our hearts and into our lives, that God’s Word actually begins to change us from the inside out. We begin to be the very bearers of God’s fruitfulness, that we begin to be the people who share that joy and that wonder in the world.

(00:04:56) – So today, this wedding invitation is. Is for us that we’re meant to. To come, to celebrate, to party, to allow God’s love to be overflowing within us. But we shouldn’t let anything get in the way of accepting that invitation. We should continue to respond to God’s Word, to God’s will, and be people that allow the goodness of God to call us into fruitfulness, to call us into that experience where indeed we are able to be that fruitful witness of God’s life and God’s goodness within the world.

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