The Messianic Banquet
WEDNESDAY: First Week of Advent
The Messianic Banquet
The Messianic Banquet of Isaiah 25:6-10, the Good Shepherd Psalm (Ps.22/23), the feeding of the multitude (Matt.15:29-37), the narrative of the Last Supper and the Institution of the Holy Eucharist (Matt.26:26-29) are profound expressions of God’s empathy and solidarity with sinners. God for his divine purpose thoroughly embodied our human nature and offered himself as an expiation for our sin (1Cor.15:3). Christ paid the price of our salvation with his own life (Gal.3:13-15). His flesh and blood are our rich food and fine wine that will transform our misfortune into eternal glory with God (Jn.6:54-56). God feeds us himself to ascertain that we will not faint along the way (Matt.15:32).
The entire Liturgy of the Word, today, shows God is familiar with human suffering; God himself endures our sorrows, our internal struggles, temptations and our thirst for salvation (Ps.42:2). His goodness and mercy would not permit him to abandon us under any given human or sinful condition (Rom.8:35-37). God seeks every opportunity to redeem us from all our distress (Matt.11:28-30). This, in summary, is the Advent narrative. God will never abandon his people (Is.49:15-16) even when it appears as if our needs outweigh his resources. He will create a surplus to sustain us beyond the immediate event (Matt.15:34-37). He is the God of divine providence. He will provide for us even when we are in the wilderness.
While we are on earth the Holy Eucharist, the source and summit of all our Christian activities – consisting of the celebration of the Word and the breaking and the distribution of the loaves, is our training ground. If we are faithful to God now and forever, he will at the end of time draw us to the mountain of salvation and make us partakers of his eternal Messianic Banquet. Advent, therefore, challenges us to embrace the alternative God is offering. Leave sin behind, embody the virtues, values and valour of the Beatitudes, and look hopefully toward the second coming of Christ. That when Christ comes again it will be an occasion for us all to celebrate his goodness and mercy forever and ever.
Lord, I look hopefully to your second coming.