Isaiah 25:1-9; Psalm 23, Phil. 4:1-9; Matthew 22:1-14
Rejoice in the LORD, always; again, I will say, Rejoice!
One common thread one finds in today’s readings is the disposition of being joyful. In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, written while the author was still in prison awaiting trial, he exhorts his readers to always rejoice and exude gentleness. But in Paul’s very imperfect world — in so many ways similar to the one we currently inhabit — where real pain and suffering exist and evil and injustice thrive, how does one rejoice? And why?
Today’s segment of St. Paul’s letter offers us assurance that God is near (and God’s nearness is reason enough for Paul for rejoicing) but the author is also quick to enumerate in the rest of his letter the many blessings for which he is grateful. The prophet Isaiah reinforces that spirit of gratitude, exalting God —and exulting in God — for the many wonderful things God has accomplished. But more importantly, both writers suggest that God’s work continues.
Matthew’s gospel hints at this scenario: that while there is still much work to be done, on God’s Kingdom here on Earth, the King also sends us an invitation — and a license — for rejoicing and merry-making. Would we, like the farmers and business-owners in the gospel parable, allow our very important work to get in the way of this invitation?
This reflection is written by Ben P. Miralles Jr, a member of the Congregation since 2010 who currently serves on our Board of Trustees. Ben has been part of the Education for Ministry (EfM) program and participates in a wide range of ministries.