We know that one of Singaporeans’ favourite indulgences is food. Our conversation comes alive and we talk fondly of our favourite dishes or delicacies.


In today’s first reading, Isaiah describes the lavish banquet for all people, and speaks of juicy, rich food and refined, aged wine. What is more, at this banquet, death and shame will be lifted from us, our sadness turned to joy and our tears wiped away. This is the heavenly banquet that we partake in at every Eucharistic celebration. How many of us are proud or excited to talk about this heavenly banquet in our conversations? Shouldn’t we be filled with the same, if not greater enthusiasm to share and talk about this rich and divine spiritual food? While the food we eat satisfies our physical body, do we appreciate that the Eucharist satisfies our spiritual body? (CCC 1392)


Perhaps we are like the people who were invited to the wedding banquet in today’s Gospel. Instead of feeling honored and privileged to be welcomed to the finest banquet, we feel indifferent, we believe we have got more important things to do. Like them we may make excuses…”I am too tired”, forgetting that our Lord is the giver of strength; “I have no time”, not realising that our time comes from our Lord. Maybe some have even refused the invitation because they do not like the message -it’s too hard to forgive our enemies, too difficult to surrender; perhaps some are turned away by their perception of the behaviour of some of the messengers.


Nevertheless, today’s gospel also tells us that God our Father very much wants us to join in this heavenly banquet of eternal joy…” Again he sent out other slaves saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast.”(Mt 22:4). God does not force us, but He repeatedly invites us. His light is always shining, will we open the curtain to let His light shines into our hearts?


For a convert like me, I can’t help but feel like one of the people gathered from the street to join in this wedding banquet of our Lord. I feel greatly honored and privileged to be welcomed into this eternal feast. However, this excitement of a great feast and donning of a wedding garment can very easily pass if we do not stay focused on our Lord and live lives worthy of that grace. We must not allow our wedding garment to be soiled by the sins of pride, envy, greed, wrath, lust, gluttony and sloth. God knows that we are weak, we will fall into sin and ruin the wedding garment, which is why He never stops forgiving, never stops showering us with His grace. On our part, we need to repent for our sins and allow ourselves to be wrapped in the gift of God’s love and mercy, feasting not on what we want but on what we need. Confession washes that baptismal garment anew, and all the stains are washed away.


In the 2nd reading, we were told how Paul’s value system was centered on one priority and that priority was Jesus. Through our Lord Jesus, Paul was able to do all that was asked and expected of him…”I can do all things through Him who strengthens me”(Ph 4:13). He trusts that God will supply what he needs, and he is therefore able to surrender all that he wanted. For Paul, life becomes a banquet at all times. What about us…do we trust in God or do we trust in ourselves? Perhaps today’s psalm can further enlighten us, “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. He guides me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side with your rod and your staff that give me courage.” (Ps 23:1-4)


Each time we join in the Eucharistic celebration, we celebrate our small taste of the eternal banquet. What we partake in may seem pale in comparison to the sumptuous food and drink we normally have on our meal table, nevertheless with faith we will taste and experience the joy and love that no earthly pleasures can bring. The taste of freedom from anxiety, suffering, emotional pain and addictions, coupled with the feeling of true peace, love and joy- this should fill us with a deep desire for this heavenly banquet. We should be driven to spend every moment preparing our wedding garment, adorning it with our acts of love, charity and service, in the hope that we may enter into this Kingdom of eternal love and joy.


God invites and wants to welcome all of us into His kingdom. Do we respond with joy and eagerness to His invitation, or do we feel indifferent, perhaps having other priorities? Is our acceptance of His invitation conditional or are we prepared to surrender completely to His will and providence? Is our desire to be with Him driving us to keep our wedding garment clean with the graces showered upon us?



Vincent Chua, Jeff Ery