Sunday Sermon for October 15, 2023, the Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

Readings: Is 25:6-10a; Phil 4:12-14, 19-20; Mt 22:1-14

In the first reading, God says through the Prophet Isaiah that on His holy mountain He will provide for all peoples a feast of rich food and pure, choice wines.  In the second reading, St. Paul tells us that God will provide whatever we need in accord with His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.  While on the surface these two aspects of God’s provision may seem completely unrelated, they are actually referring to the same thing.  In fact, the means to obtain what God wants to give us is found in the Gospel: those who chose to attend the marriage of the King’s Son will receive in full all that God is giving.

What does all this mean?  First of all, we must begin with the mountain on which the feast is provided.  We are also told that death would be destroyed on that mountain and that the reproach of God’s people would be removed.  Indeed, on this mountain the people will recognize the Lord to Whom they looked to save them. 

One would naturally assume this mountain to be Mount Zion or the mountain on which the Temple of the Lord was built.  On one hand, this would be correct because it is where the death and resurrection of our Lord took place.  Death was destroyed there and our sins have been nailed to the Cross there; on that mountain we recognize the love of God in the Person of Jesus Christ.

However, we need to go even deeper than this to fully understand the meaning of this passage.  Several hundred years after Isaiah wrote these words, the Prophet Daniel spoke about a mountain.  In the second chapter of the Book of Daniel we read about a dream the king of Babylon had and for which he sought interpretation.  Daniel was able to interpret the dream which was about a statue made of gold, silver, bronze, and a mixture of iron and clay. 

Daniel said these materials represented four kingdoms and that during the time of the fourth kingdom, that of iron and clay, a stone would be hewn without human intervention.  This stone would strike the statue which turned to dust, then the stone would become a mountain that would grow to fill the earth.  That mountain is Jesus.  So, to understand what Isaiah was saying, we must look, not to a physical mountain capped by Jerusalem and the Temple of the Lord, but to the Person of Jesus.  He is the stone that grew to a mountain that filled the earth: faith in Him began very small, then grew to fill the whole world.

This is the way we can understand that Jesus destroyed death in His Person.  It was not merely the objective fact of our Lord dying on a mountain that destroyed death.  Rather, because Jesus died, He entered into Sheol, the abode of the dead, and He rose from that place and destroyed death.  That, however, is just a fraction of what He did.  He revealed life because He is life itself.  When we recognize Jesus, we recognize life, truth, love; we recognize God to Whom we looked to save us.

In this way, we realize that when God provides this feast on the mountain, we are not speaking merely of physical food that sustains us, but spiritual food that is the Bread of Life, that is, the Holy Eucharist.  This is the richest, choicest food possible because it is God Himself.  This is the banquet of the wedding of the King’s Son.  More than this, He is the Bridegroom Who gives Himself entirely to us and for us.  We are invited to the wedding, not as guests, but as the members of the Bride. 

Our Lord purifies us and takes away our shame by becoming sin for us and nailing our sins to the tree.  He restores us to life by giving us His own life, He removes our shame by uniting us to Himself, and He changes our tears of grief and sorrow into tears of joy because we recognize Him Whom we love.  Hidden behind the marred humanity endured in the Passion, and now hidden behind the form of bread, we recognize Him, we receive Him, we worship Him, we love Him, and we rejoice in Him. 

When St. Paul speaks of the riches of God, he is not referring to the richness of a sumptuous meal; he is referring to Jesus Who is all in all.  All true riches are in Him and He has united Himself to us as the Bridegroom of our souls.  That means everything that is His has been given to us as a gift.  This is how God supplies everything we need in accord with His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.  Glory to Him forever!

Fr. Altier’s column appears regularly in The Wanderer, a national Catholic weekly published in St. Paul, Minn. For information about subscribing to The Wanderer, please visit