In the readings for this Sunday, Oct. 15, God gives us a wedding feast as an image of heaven. Weddings are a celebration of a covenant relationship; a shared loved that’s meant to bring fulfillment and joy. Heaven is where our relationship with God is fulfilled, and our joy is completed.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
The readings for this Sunday, Oct. 15, offers us a little taste of heaven. God presents Godself as a husband to Israel and to the Church throughout Scripture. That intimate, loving relationship is what God wants for us on earth, and becomes an eternal celebration in heaven. God reminds us that, though things aren’t perfect in our world, they will be when we get to the next one. All of our sadness will be removed, and we’ll enjoy being in God’s presence forever and have everything we want. But, to be able to enjoy heaven, we have to be spiritually prepared. We can’t have anything in the way of our relationship with God.
On this mountain the LORD of hosts will provide for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.
I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.
Philippians 4:12-14, 19-20
My God will fully supply whatever you need, in accord with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son.
You can read the full text of this Sunday’s readings here:
The first reading from Isaiah shares a vision of what our relationship with God could be like–what God wants our relationship to be like. God wants to remove our sin, sadness, and everything that prevents us from being face to face with God. He tells us that there will be a feast with the best foods and drinks that we can imagine. This is what heaven will be like.
Paul tells us in the second reading that although he happened to be going through a tough time (he was in jail), he was grateful for the support of his friends. He knew that with their help, and more importantly, with God’s help, everything would be all right in the end.
The Gospel is a parable about a king who threw a wedding feast for his son. As usual this is symbolic: the king is God, the son is Jesus, and the feast is heaven. The guests refused to come; they were the chosen people who had already been introduced to God, but who weren’t interested in doing what it took to be in relationship with God. So, since they wouldn’t come, the king invited everybody else (pagans and sinners). They were all happy to come, and to get ready properly…except for one man. He shows up dressed wrong. Now, God wouldn’t kick someone out of heaven just for not having nice clothes. His dress represented the fact that he didn’t prepare himself properly for heaven by living the life that God calls us to live. Living holy lives of service make our hearts open and ready to accept the gifts that God wants to give us.
Have you ever been to a wedding? If so, what did you like most about it? If you haven’t, what do you think it would be like?
The garment that the man was lacking was good deeds (we’re told in the letters of Paul that we should be “clothed in Christ” which happens when we live like Jesus). It also represents our baptismal garment–the garment that we’re given at our baptism that symbolizes Jesus’ victory over sin and death. How do you get dressed up for God? How does they way you live your life, and your baptism, prepare you for heaven?
When you’re going through tough times, what gives you the encouragement to keep going? What helps you to know that it’s going to be okay? What role does your belief in heaven play in that encouragement? What does your marriage, or someone else’s marriage reveal to you about heaven? (Lots of questions today–pick the ones that speak to you most).
A little lectio
The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.
A little Bible study
Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:
- During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
- Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
- Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
- Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
- If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)
For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.
The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”