I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  

Life-giving faith directs us to God’s “dwelling place.” The 28th and 29th Ordinary Time Sunday Mass Scriptures prepare our hearts and minds for a final destiny. In fact, we are called to prepare today for tomorrow. 

Life_Giving Faith.pdf

Earthly banquet and heavenly feast: You are invited 

Celebrations are directly proportional to the amount of food and people. While banquets have a more formal appeal, feasts are overflowing with food, fellowship and fun. The prophet Isaiah describes a feast atop Jerusalem’s Mount Zion as the celebration of God’s victory over death, wipes away all tears, and he provides the best choice food and wine.

Similarly, Jesus describes the kingdom of God using the parable of a king giving a wedding feast for his son. The initial invitations were rejected, until he finally decided to welcome all people. The king is God, inviting us to a banquet for his son, Jesus. This present banquet for us is the Sunday Mass. It is by our active participation in and reception of the Eucharist that we experience a foretaste of heaven. The heavenly banquet in eternity is far greater than we will ever be capable of imagining. Our hope lies in the open invitation to come to the feast of heaven and earth. Am I accepting or rejecting God’s invitation to Mass, a celebration in the feast of our salvation? Or am I ignoring my calling for something better? Is there anything better than a heavenly feast on earth? 

Food for strength and courage 

If our faith points us toward eternity with God then one could argue that he would, out of love and mercy, help us get there. St. Paul reiterates if we are detached from what is of the world, the journey to eternity will be filled with courage, strength and peace, despite affliction and obstacles. He stresses that God will supply us fully with whatever we need. In particular, this strength from God comes through the Eucharist, where Jesus is fully present by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is THE choice food and THE choice wine. 

The earthly banquet is for our Good Shepherd, who is with us every step of the way. We hear this in the most recited Psalm 23:3, “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.” Am I following the Good Shepherd, Jesus? Am I allowing him to lead me? Am I receptive to the graces given to me in holy Communion, or am I just taking for granted the gift of this sacrifice? 

What belongs to God? 

Two opposing political forces joined together to trap Jesus into saying words that will cause his arrest. In answering their question about a census tax, Jesus, looking upon the graven image of Caesar, said to give it back to him, knowing it will eventually fade. But he reminded his challengers as he does us, to give to God what belongs to God. That being said, if we are made in the image and likeness of God, would you agree that we are all called to give back to him? 

Give God all of you. All belongs to God: your life, your soul, your very being belongs to God. Your praise and honor belong to him. He has chosen each one of us individually by name, and we in turn are to rejoice in gratitude “so that toward the rising and the setting of the sun people may know that there is none besides me,” (Is 45:6). Each step closer to Jesus is a leap toward eternity. Through the Holy Spirit we become more aware of just how much God gives, most especially in Jesus Christ. Am I willing to give myself completely to God? What images am I forging within that attempt to overwrite what has already been inscribed upon my soul? What truly am I giving back to God? 

Dow is the director of Evangelization and Catechesis for the Diocese of Baton Rouge.