28th Sunday of the Year (A) 2017

‘Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast.’
I want you to note the sense of urgency.
How many of us have prepared a meal and when everything is just ready we call the family or the guests to the table. How many of us have felt the frustration of our family or guests delaying for some trivial reason while the plates and the soup gets cold.
We want them to come now not in five or ten minutes time.
The Lord has prepared a great banquet for us. When all is ready God calls us to come to the table to eat and drink. The invitation is for now. Everything is ready, come now.
Like in today’s parable a decision is required. I must choose to come now; not tomorrow or next week or next year. Now is the time.
This is conversion. This is saying yes, now, to the Kingdom of God, to the Reign of God in my life.
From this moment on I seek to do the right thing, to act justly, to forgive generously, to share with joy. To live in, and as part of, God’s Kingdom.
For Jesus of Nazareth the Kingdom of God was not something for the future but an already existing reality.
‘Asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he said in reply, ‘behold, the kingdom of God is among you.’
For Jesus of Nazareth the Kingdom of God had already been inaugurated, had already begun.
His cures and miracles were signs of the already presence of the Kingdom of God; that the power of God had already taken over from the power of evil.
‘Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven. ………’ He replied, ‘if it is by the finger of God that (I) drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.’
And again at Cana when water was changed into good wine we are told; ‘Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs in Cana in Galilee’ (signs that the Kingdom of God had arrived) ‘and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him.’
The Eucharist itself guarantees that we already occupy the Kingdom of God. Receiving Holy Communion is the sign, the confirmation, that I am one with Christ. United with Jesus of Nazareth in the Eucharist I already ‘sit at the right hand of the Father’ in the Kingdom of God.
So for me Christianity, religion, must mean living up to what I already am – a resident of the Kingdom of God – and not about striving to gain something in the future.
As Jesus of Nazareth said. ‘Behold the Kingdom of God is among you.’
You might well say; ‘But I don’t feel as if I am already in the Kingdom of God! In my pain or grief I feel far from God and far from God’s Kingdom!’
Then again neither did Jesus of Nazareth, as he struggled to carry the cross on the road to Calvary. Or as he died in agony on the cross and shouted out ‘My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?’
So religion for me is an act of gratitude. A deep sense of thanks for this great gift which I have already received – the banquet in the Kingdom of God.