Readings for the 19th Sunday after Pentecost

Matthew 22:1-14; Philippians 4:4-13; Isaiah 25:6-9

“You are invited!” Sifting through the stack of junk mail and monthly bills, you spy a handwritten envelope with elegant lettering and gold foil. You open it and discover it’s an invitation to a friend’s party. There will be music, feasting and celebration. You immediately go to your calendar and mark the date. This is an event you are not going to miss!

The Old Testament lesson for Sunday tells of a great feast that the LORD will host on the Last Day. People from all across the world will be invited to come and celebrate with God His decisive victory over death. There will be tears of relief and shouts of joy as the we praise God for His deliverance (Is 25).

The Gospel lesson, too, speaks of an invitation to a great feast. But here is the added detail that some will despise God’s invitation and, consequently, find themselves missing out on the celebration. God’s grace and salvation through Christ are free gifts, which leads many to treat them with contempt (Matt 22).

In the Epistle lesson, Paul exhorts us to rejoice, to pray, and to focus on what is good. Underlying each of these exhortations is the promise that God -in Christ- is near. His peace gives us our strength (Phil 4).