The Lord will Provide
(28th Ordinary Sunday: Isaiah 25:6-10; Philippians 4:12-20; Matthew 22:1-14)
Just look at all things that God promises, in our first reading, to provide for his people! The image of rich food and choice wines is so enticing, it might almost distract us from all the rest.
There is so much more: he will destroy death forever, wipe away tears from every face, remove his people’s reproach from the whole earth. See how in each case God’s intervention is definitive, complete.
So too in today’s Psalm, which sums up the reality from our perspective: “Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side.”
And yet, it seems that today these images have lost their appeal. It is like the wedding guests who not only refuse to come to the feast, but abuse the messengers. How discouraging this can be for believers, as they see their numbers decrease.
In 1846, the anticlerical legacy of the French Revolution was still strong. This was the context of Mary’s Apparition at La Salette. Reproaching her people, she hoped to remove their reproach; speaking of the death of small children, she hoped they would turn in trust to the One who has destroyed death forever.
It is one thing, like St. Paul, to know how to live in humble circumstances and with abundance, materially speaking. Many people manage that. But it is quite another thing to deprive ourselves of what the Lord offers us. Paul makes a promise every bit as wonderful as Isaiah’s: “My God will fully supply whatever you need, in accord with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”
This requires chiefly one thing: the wedding garment, which is faith. And the living faith that the Beautiful Lady wishes to reawaken will enable us to do the three things she asks of us: to convert, to pray well, and to make her message known.
Conversion includes but is not restricted to returning to the Sacraments. If we remember the seven “Capital” sins, we can ask the Lord to “enlighten the eyes of our hearts,” so as to discern what virtues and behaviors we personally will need to cultivate, and “so that we may know what is the hope that belongs to our call.”
Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.