Saturday, October 11, 2008

1st Reading, 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

From: Isaiah 25:6-10a

The Lord’s banquet

[6] On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of fat things, a feast of wine on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wine on the lees well refined. [7] And he will destroy on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. [8] He will swallow up death for ever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth; for the Lord has spoken.

Songs of salvation

[9] It will be said on that day, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

[10] For the hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain.


25:6-8. The Lord has prepared a special feast for all the nations on Mount Zion. There he will provide succulent food and fine wine – a symbolic reference to the divine fare that God will provide and which surpasses anything that man could imagine.

These words prefigure the Eucharistic banquet, instituted by Jesus in Jerusalem, in which he provides divine nourishment, his own Body and Blood, which strengthens the soul and is a pledge of future glory: “To share in ‘the Lord’s Supper’ is to anticipate the eschatological feast of the ‘marriage of the Lamb’ (Rev 19:9). Celebrating this memorial of Christ, risen and ascended into heaven, the Christian community waits ‘in joyful hope for the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ’” (John Paul II, Dies Domini, 38). The saints often encourage us to bear this in mind when we receive the Eucharist: “It is an eternal pledge to us; it assures us of a place in heaven; it is a guarantee that one day heaven will be our home. Moreover, Jesus Christ will raise up our bodies in glory, in accordance with how often and with what dignity we have received his Body in Holy Communion” (St John Baptist Mary Vianney, Sermon on Holy Communion).

“Death” (v. 8) is a metaphor for the definitive destruction of Israel: God gives an assurance that it will never happen. Also, St Paul quotes this verse when he rejuices that the resurrection of Christ marks the definitive victory over death (1 Cor 15:54-55), and it appears also in the book of Revelation, when it proclaims the salvation that has been wrought by the Lamb who has died and risen again: “he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Rev 21:4; cf. also Rev 7:17). The Church, too, speaks in similar vein in its prayer for the dead, beseeching God to receive them into his Kingdom “There we hope to share in your glory when every tear will be wiped away. On that day we shall see you, our God, as you are. We shall become like you and praise you forever through Christ our Lord, from home all good things come” (Roman Missal, Eucharistic Prayer III).

25:9-26:6. After the celebration of the banquet prepared by God, two hymns are intoned that will be sung “on that day”. The first praises the Lord: he is faithful; those who put their hope of salvation in him will never be disappointed, whereas Moab will be laid low on account of its pride (25:9-12). The second hymn returns (cf. 25:1-5) to the theme of praise of the Lord for giving refuge to the poor and needy (26:1-6).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

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