By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.
“THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.” (JOHN 14:26)
FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.
- What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?
- From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?
SECOND DAY READ ISAIAH 25:6-10 FIRST READING
(“The Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces.”)
- Who will the Lord of host provide for on this mountain? Isaiah 25:6
- What will the Lord provide? Isaiah 25:6
- What will he destroy on this mountain, and where is it woven? Isaiah 25:7
- What will the Lord destroy forever? Isaiah 25:8
- Who has passed from death to life? John 5:24
- What will the Lord God wipe away from all faces? Isaiah 25:8
- Who will lead us to life-giving water? Rev 7:17
- What will the Lord remove from his people? Is 25:8
- On that day, what will be said, and about what shall we be glad and rejoice? Isaiah 25:9
- For what reason did the Father send his Son into the world? 1 John 4:14
- On what will the Lord rest his hand? Isaiah 25:10
Personal – In what way have you passed from death to life here and now? In what way have you experienced some of heaven here on earth? How can you apply this Scripture passage in wiping away the tears in your life?
THIRD DAY READ PHILIPPIANS 4:12-14, 19-20 SECOND READING
(“I have the strength for everything, through him who empowers me.”)
- In what circumstances does Paul know how to live? Philippians 4:12
- In what other way does he know how to live, and in every circumstance and in all things, what is the secret Paul learned? Philippians 4:12
- What does Paul do when ridiculed and persecuted? 1 Corinthians 4:11-13
- For what does Paul have strength, and where does he get it? Philippians 4:13
- Why would Paul rather boast of his weaknesses? 2 Corinthians 12:9
- What did Paul say it was kind of the Philippians to do? Philippians 4:14
- How are we strengthened with power? Ephesians 3:16
- Why did the Lord stand by Paul and give him strength? 2 Timothy 4:17
- According to whom and with what will God fully supply us? Philippians 4:19
- What is God able to make abundant for us, and for what reason? 2 Corinthians 9:8
- To what does the kindness of God lead? Romans 2:4
- What is given to our God and Father? Philippians 4:20
Personal – Where do you seek the strength to get through your day? Upon whom do you rely when you have a problem? What is your response when you are ridiculed or persecuted?
FOURTH DAY READ MATTHEW 22:1-14 GOSPEL
(“Many are invited, but few are chosen.”)
- How did Jesus speak, and who was listening to him? Matthew 22:1, Matthew 21:45
- To what did Jesus compare the kingdom of heaven, and for whom did he have it? Matthew 22:2
- What happened when the king invited the guests to the feast? Matthew 22:3
- When the king sent his servants out a second time and told them everything was ready, what did some of them do? Matthew 22:4-6
- What was the king’s reaction, and what did he do? Matthew 22:7
- When the feast was ready, who were those not worthy to come, and whom did he send his servants to invite? Matthew 22:8-9
- Who filled the hall, and when the king came, what did he see? Matthew 22:10-11
- With what has the Lord clothed and wrapped us? Isaiah 61:10
- In whom have we clothed ourselves? Galatians 3:27
- How did the king address the man without a wedding garment, and how did the guest react? Matthew 22:12
- What did the king tell his attendants to do with the man? Matthew 22:13
- How many are invited, and how many are chosen? Matthew 22:14
- What three things are those who follow the Lord? Revelation 17:14
Personal – When you meet with the Lord on a daily basis, how are you clothed? How have you feasted on his Word? How have you been faithful in carrying it out among your family, friends and co-workers or school friends?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 23:1-6
(“Beside restful waters he leads me.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 23:1-6.
What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?
How can you apply this to your life?
SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY
The message in this reading came from a prophecy about 700 years before Christ came to earth. Isaiah described the result of that coming of the Messiah in the beautiful imagery of a bountiful banquet. In this banquet all those who took part would find everlasting happiness and contentment. Isaiah was referring, of course, to heaven, the second and final stage of the messianic kingdom. In heaven, desires will be pleasant and happiness will be fulfilled. The reality is that whatever Isaiah foretold, Jesus brought to pass.
Jesus destroyed the power of death by dying on the cross for us, and in his death we are given victory over death. There is no more veil of fear from death because of Jesus’ victory for all those who believe in him. Jesus, through his death, made us his brothers and sisters and co-heirs of heaven with him. Because of Jesus, you and I have been accepted as God’s adopted children. Heaven is ours for the taking. For us, God the Father invented it, God the Son has earned it, and God the Holy Spirit is always ready to help us obtain it. We, in our human minds, can not really describe what heaven is like or even perceive what it looks like.
Scripture tells us that, “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor can man ever comprehend what God has in store for those who love Him” (1 Cor. 2:9). Today’s message is a message of hope and eternal freedom from pain, sickness, imprisonment, persecution, and death. Once again, it brings the hope and joy of being in eternal union with all of our relatives, friends and saints of God.
We may do well to meditate on what heaven will be like and to see this life as it really is – a journey. Sometimes our journey is unpleasant or difficult and, for some, very short. This journey is our route back home to our permanent home with God. Many people are mistaken and think this world is the only one and, therefore, fail to travel on the path he has laid down for us on our journey. God is waiting for us to enjoy our eternal banquet with him. Let us not be foolish and journey the wrong way and miss the banquet.
PHILIPPIANS 4:12-14, 19-20
Today, many people have great difficulty being content with what they have, where they are, and who they are. Are you content in any situation you face? St. Paul tells us in today’s readings that he knew how to be content whether he had much or little. He tells us that the secret of contentment was having Christ’s power in his life. Paul was content because he saw life from God’s point of view. He focused on what he was supposed to do, not on what he felt like doing.
We can all learn to be content with life if we try to rely on God’s promises and Christ’s power. If you have great needs and always seem to be discontent, ask God to remove these desires and teach you to be content in every situation. There is a tremendous message in our society today that says, think only about number one. People are congratulated for being loners and doing things their way. We have lost much of the humility that Christ calls for us in our daily lives.
Paul had his priorities straight and was grateful for everything that God gave him. He knew God because he talked to him, he read Sacred Scripture, and he worshiped him. We need only to look around in our communities, and, many times, even in our own families, and see that the desire for more or better possessions is really a longing to fill an empty place in our own life. We need to reflect on what we dream about when we feel empty inside. Scripture tells us the answer lies in our perspective, our priorities and our source.
You can dismiss your anxiety by praying when these thoughts are invading your mind. Fill your mind with things that are good, solid, pure, and right with God. This will bring you a peace that nothing in this world can match or even understand (Phil. 4:6-8). Your source for this incredible power is Jesus Christ. He is the source that will supply all your needs, not all your wants. We always must remember that God will meet our needs, but he may not always meet them in this life. Christians suffer and die and God does not always intervene to save or spare them. In heaven, where sin and death have been permanently destroyed, our wants and needs will be abundantly supplied for eternity.
A tremendous revelation is made to us in today’s Gospel, and that is, God wants you and me to join him in his eternal heavenly banquet. He has sent us invitations in many, many ways. Have you accepted his invitation? In the culture of the people in today’s story, there were two wedding invitations given. The first asked the guests to attend; the second announced that all was ready and to come right away. You are invited to let Jesus come into your heart and let him become the Lord of your life. Some day the Lord will call you to come home, and if you have accepted his invitation, you will enjoy his banquet forever. If you did not accept his invitation, “You will be left out in the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 22:13).
The custom was to put on a special garment supplied by the host at the wedding banquet, and to refuse the robe would be an insult to the host. Jesus, in telling this story, is speaking of the garment of righteousness needed to enter God’s banquet in the kingdom. The robe is our acceptance of Christ as our personal Lord and Savior. It is a picture of total acceptance in God’s eyes, given to every believer by Christ.
Christ has provided this garment for everyone, but each person has to choose to wear it in order to enter the king’s banquet (eternal life). For us, Jesus won the right to wear this robe of righteousness by his dying on the cross and rising from the dead. We are allowed to wear this special garment, not because of our merit, but totally because of his incredible gift of grace to us. Many people have heard about Christ inviting us to his banquet, but for various reasons they are too busy to listen to, reflect upon and accept his invitation. It is true, many are called but only a few are chosen.
Take this time, right now, and thank him for choosing you and for offering you such a precious garment. If you have not accepted his invitation to his banquet (eternal life), fall on your knees right now and tell him that you want him to come and take up residence in your heart. He will bring out one of his special garments and place you next to him in a special place of honor. Your whole life will be changed when you realize that because of him, you have been called to be one of his chosen ones.
The first reading reveals to us a message of eternal freedom from pain and death. The second reading shows us that the secret of contentment is having Christ’s power in our lives. The Gospel invites us to let the Lord Jesus come into our hearts and become the Lord of our lives.
This week, share with a family member, work or school associate, where you obtain your strength. Share who is the source of your power. Be bold and introduce to the people around you the gift of being chosen. You do not need to preach, but you do need to witness. Share with your spouse how God supplies your needs in Christ Jesus. Then listen to the reply. Listen!