Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Each of the readings for this Sunday is striking, but finding a unifying theme running through all of them is a challenge. Obviously
, the motif of a banquet binds Jesus’ parable of the royal wedding feast
from Matthew’s Gospel with the lush banquet described in the first reading from the prophet Isaiah.
However, the mood of the two readings is quite different.
The passage from Isaiah describes the final destiny of God’s people as a bountiful feast
catered by God on Mount Zion: a banquet provided “for all peoples,” a “feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.”
It is a celebration of life in abundance
- God will destroy “the veil that veils all peoples” and “God will destroy death forever!” With great tenderness, “the Lord God will wipe away the tears from every face.”
The final day of human destiny is a day of rejoicing and praise
: “On that day it will be said: ‘Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us! This is the Lord for whom we looked; let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!’”
This beautiful text, with its spirit of hope and trust in God’s love, is read at many Christian funerals. The responsorial psalm (the beloved Psalm 23) breathes the same spirit using a different metaphor:
“I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.”
The psalmist continues: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. In verdant pastures he gives me repose; beside restful waters he leads me; he refreshes my soul. . . . Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come.”
Jesus’ parable of the king who holds a wedding feast for his son and sends out servants with personal invitations
has a very different mood
. Remarkably, the invited guests turn down the king’s hospitality, ignoring the invitation and offering feeble excuses - my farm or my business needs attention. Much worse is that those invited mistreat the king’s messengers and even kill them.
Naturally, the king does not receive this news well; he destroys the murderers and burns down their city. Undaunted, the king orders his servants to go out to the main streets to
invite “whomever you find.”
They did, and “gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests.”
This seems to be a happy ending, barely masking its description of Jesus’ own mission.
Those who reject him miss the opportunity of a lifetime, but the poor and the vulnerable share in the wedding feast of the Lamb of God.
However, a happy ending is not the way Jesus concludes the parable. In the longer version, the king comes in to meet his guests
and discovers one “who was not dressed in a wedding garment.”
When the man is asked why not, he falls silent. Accordingly, he is thrown out into the “darkness.”
What is the point here? Was this man expected to buy a wedding garment on his way to an unanticipated feast?
“Putting on a wedding garment” is symbolic of the change of life expected of the followers of Jesus. To take part in the feast, one has to leave one’s old life behind and follow Jesus. There is a cost, but also a surpassing blessing.
The German theologian and Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer was one of the leading Protestant theologians of the Twentieth Century. He was known for his ecumenical spirit and his reflection on the role of the church in modern secular society. Bonhoeffer was accused of involvement in a plot to overthrow Adolf Hitler. It led to his imprisonment and execution by the Nazis.
Among his many published works, Bonhoeffer wrote a book entitled
The Cost of Discipleship
. In it, he speaks of the commitment expected of those who follow Jesus.
“Costly grace is the Gospel which must be sought again and again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: ‘You were bought at a price,’ and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the incarnation of God.”
I believe this is the message of the Scriptures this Sunday.
God’s mercy is endless and bountiful, but in the face of such love we are asked to let it change our lives and to be truly committed.
We are to strive for a life of holiness and justice, of tender love for others, of fidelity and hope. We must wear faithfully the
garment of our profession of belief in Christ. It is the
garment into the joy of God’s kingdom.
Receiving Holy Communion
In keeping with the Covid-19 protocols of the Archdiocese of San Antonio, Holy Communion is to be received reverently in the hand at this time. Unless you are members of the same household, you are asked to keep social distancing of six feet between yourself and others. Please sanitize your hands before coming forward to receive the Body of Christ.
Classes began on Thursday, October 1, at 6:30pm, in the Mother of the Americas Center. This year we will be having virtual classes with our students. If you have not registered your child(ren) and wish to do so, please call Bea at 210-227-0126, ext. 210. You can also register for the Rites of Christian Initiation for adults and children and confirmation classes for adults and teens. Please pray for catechists: Bea Bailey (director), Nelson de los Santos, Tim and Betty Fierro, David Gutierrez, Monica Lozano, Makayla Nunez, Veronica Nunez, Charles and Janice Oualline, Cynthia Rangel, and Deacon Vincent Scheel.
Respect Life Month
Celebrate Respect Life Month with the Archdiocese of San Antonio. This is to help all of us cherish every human life. Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, MSpS, has called for three special Respect Life Masses during October:
Sunday, October 11, 8:00am
San Fernando Cathedral
Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller
Sunday, October 25, 12:30pm
Saint Ann Church
Father Larry Christian
Please consider making a donation of diapers (any size), baby wipes, or other baby supplies to St. PJ's Children's Home. Donations can be placed at the Altar of St. Joseph in the church during the month of October. Thank you.
A New Model of Holiness for Young People
Have you heard of Blessed Carlo Acutis, a 15-year-old Italian boy who loved to play soccer and was a techie, even producing a movie about Eucharistic miracles. Carlo died of leukemia in 2006 and was beatified yesterday, October 10. See a video about his life, his deep faith, and his joyful spirit at
St. Joseph's Church Downtown is open with the usual schedule of weekday and weekend Masses, sacraments, and ministry. Because of increased coronavirus cases locally, social distancing, hand-sanitizing, and the use of a face mask are observed during church services, in order to keep everyone safe and healthy.
Videos of Masses
Videos of Sunday Mass and other Masses from St. Joseph's are posted on YouTube at the St. Joseph Church Downtown Media page. Special thanks to the Strelchun Family and John Francis for filming and editing these videos so beautifully. Some Masses are also live-streamed.
Remembering Those in Need
In a spirit of caring for each other in these difficult days, we encourage you to support efforts to feed our neighbors in need via Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of San Antonio and area food banks.
Archdiocesan Assembly 2020
Pope Francis has said, "Christianity spreads through the joy of disciples who know that they are loved and saved." This year's Archdiocesan Assembly will take place on Saturday, November 7, from 9:00am-1:00pm. The theme is "Building a Catholic Culture of Discipleship. Participants will be united as one on a virtual platform, including television, Facebook, YouTube, etc. For more information about this exciting day, visit the archdiocesan website (https://www.archsa.org) or call 210-734-1911.
Supporting St. Joseph Church Downtown
Thank you for supporting St. Joseph through our parish website (
) or Give Central (
Anthony Schueller SSS
on Sunday, October 11 at 2:01PM