Fr Rodney Kissinger, S.J

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“Jesus again in reply spoke to them in parables saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests for the feast but they refused to come. A second time he sent other servants saying, ‘Tell those invited: Behold I have prepared my banquet; my calves and fattened cattle are killed and everything is ready; come to the feast.’ Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was enraged and sent his troops, destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find. The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike and the hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to meet the guests he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment. He said to him, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?’ But he was reduced to silence. Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet and cast him into the darkness outside where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’ Many are invited but few are chosen.” (Matt. 22:1-14)

The Wedding Feast is a favorite theme of both the Old Testament and the New Testament. The reason is obvious. The Jewish religion as well as the Judaeo-Christian religion consists essentially in a Covenant, a Covenant with God. And the most common natural covenant we know about is the covenant of marriage. Marriage is a covenant of love that is fulfilling, creative and joyful. Our Covenant with God is also a covenant of love that is fulfilling, creative and joyful. Just like in marriage our Covenant with God is “for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and health, NOT until death do us part, BUT death do us unite.”

In my Covenant with God I becomes “we.” And “we” is mostly Thee. This is the true self the only self that really exists. When we forget the Covenant with God we fall back into the false self, “I am I,” which does not exist, except in my imagination. The awareness of our Covenant with God is the source of great joy because joy is the most infallible sign of the awareness of God.

When we forget our Covenant with God the false self opens the way to pride, vanity and arrogance. I become not “we” but remain I. I become Number One, “I am who am.” So I judge myself by my talents, my energy and my productivity. And I always have to be proving myself. Then when I get old or sick or fail in any way I become discouraged and think that I am worthless and want to give up. The deification of man is the root cause of despair.

When I am aware of my Covenant with God the true self makes me realize that when I do great things, “He who is mighty has done great things for me.” I don’t have to prove anything to anybody. God loves me as I am with all the physical warts, psychological quirks and spiritual infidelities. And when I get old or sick or cannot do much I am not disturbed because I am not saved by what I do or can’t do, I am saved by my Covenant with God. I don’t know what tomorrow hold but I do know Who holds tomorrow.

Our Covenant with God is uniquely different from the Covenant of Marriage in that God is always faithful even if I am unfaithful. This is a truth we should never forget. The only real failure is to deny the unconditional love of God, the fidelity of the love of God, the divine mercy.

The Covenant of Marriage is always celebrated with a feast, a Wedding Feast. Our Covenant with God is also celebrated with a feast, the Eucharistic Feast. There is bread, wine, fellowship and joy, so we eat, drink and are merry. I renew and celebrate my Covenant with God every time I go to Mass. And I discover that just as at the Wedding Feast of Cana, our Lord saves the very best wine until last, if not here, surely hereafter.


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