At their best wedding banquets are occasions of great joy, love and happiness. For good reason, weddings and banquets keep appearing in the scriptures as symbols of God's loving relationship with humankind. They invite us to imagine God loving us as a lover delights in the beloved. They allow us to read the Bible as the story of God's love affair with us, with its full share of highs and lows. Today's parable of the wedding feast reflects this. It tells us of a ruler who throws open his wedding hall to unexpected guests. At the same time, it warns us about what is expected in response.
The week's prayer focus
Paul told the Philippians he knew how to be both poor and rich, hungry and well-fed. In that spirit, we pray: Make us ready, O God, to master all things with the strength that you alone can give us.
These intercessions are offered for selected use at Sunday Mass in the parish alongside those that express local needs and concerns.
Dear friends, it is our Good Shepherd, Jesus, who invites us to this banquet of life. Thankful for his embrace of us, let us pray for God's blessing on the whole of creation.
- For all who have suffered sexual, physical or emotional abuse as children, that they will find the strength to recover from their trauma and go on to lead fulfilling lives, (pause for silent prayer) let us pray to the Lord.
- For the multitude of people who go hungry every day and struggle to survive, that World Food Day and the World Day for the Eradication of Poverty will provoke new efforts to come to their aid, (pause for silent prayer) let us pray to the Lord.
- For aid workers helping impoverished communities gain access to safe drinking water, that they will be given sustained support by governments and local authorities, (pause for silent prayer) let us pray to the Lord.
- For the recently deceased... and for those whose anniversary of death occurs around this time, that they will live in the house of the Lord forever, (pause for silent prayer) let us pray to the Lord.
- For volunteers in local community organisations, that their generous service will bring people together and contribute to the wellbeing of all, (pause for silent prayer) let us pray to the Lord.
- For parents and godparents of children being baptised around this time, that they will be blessed in all they do to inspire them with the good news of Jesus, (pause for silent prayer) let us pray to the Lord.
- For the sick of the parish, especially those approaching the end of their lives, that they will be cared for with great love and be assured of God's loving-kindness, (pause for silent prayer) let us pray to the Lord.
- We pray for all the detainees on Manus Island and Nauru. May their inhumane treatment come to an end and safe settlement be granted them. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
- For Pope Francis, pastor of the universal church, and for all pastors, that they may exercise their ministry with the strength and wisdom of Christ, (pause for silent prayer) let us pray to the Lord.
Faithful and ever-loving God, you never cease to invite us to the wedding banquet of your Son. Send us forth to call the lost and forgotten to be guests at your feast. We ask this through Christ our Lord.