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The choicest feast – God’s promise shared by Christians and Jews

KUL Heschel Center / 15.10.2023
Photo_KUL Heschel Center
Photo_KUL Heschel Center

God and God-inspired Biblical writers knew very well that an image of a feast will be a powerful incentive for the followers of Judaism and Christianity who seek salvation, observes Bible scholar Fr. Dr. Zbigniew Grochowski in a commentary for the Catholic University of Lublin Heschel Centre for the Sunday, October 15, stressing the symbolic meaning of the feast in the tradition of both Old and New Testament, symbolic of the heavenly banquet of the saved ones.


Already in the Old Testament, the prophet Isiah among others referred to a feast, symbolic of the universal aspect of salvation. An invitation to this feast was sent to “all people and all nations” (Is 25:6-10a). A free invitation, however, does not imply inaction on the part of those invited. “Although the King’s generosity testifies to the gratuitousness of His grace and the greatness of His gift, if a person wishes to take advantage of it, they must appropriately respond to this invitation and accept it with gratitude oraz prepare for the feast by securing a wedding dress as one wild not be able to sit at table without donning it (Mt 22:11-14)”, observes Fr. Grochowski.

The “rich food and choice wines” (Is 25:6) which Isaiah mentions make up an image of magnificence of the heavenly feast. “Naturally, what is meant here is not the relishing of earthly appetite. In reality, the prophet talks about eschatological happiness, which is present not only in the image of the feast, but also expressed in the truth about the definitive annihilation of death and cancellation of all woe, ignominy, and tears” (Is 25:8), stresses the Bible scholar.

In Jesus’ parable in chapter 22 of the Gospel according to Matthew, we see God as a King, extending an invitation to his Son’s wedding to a first group/circle of people, especially welcome at a reception. As Fr. Zbigniew Grochowski, “their resentment and contempt provoke the King’s anger and inspire him to broaden the circle of those treated as guests: now the King’s servants make it possible for literally ‘all, good and bad alike’” (Mt 22:9-10) to attend the feast.

God’s unparalleled generosity calls for a generous response on the part of the invited person. “Man, for his part, must demonstrate his openness to God’s invitation and his willingness to cooperate with the grace extended. This is symbolically expressed in the need to prepare a wedding garment, which in Scripture symbolises the intrinsic dignity of the human person”, notes the Bible scholar, pointing to the wedding garment as a symbol of purity of heart and a guarantee of entry into the King’s feast. Importantly, this garment does not only signify freedom from sins, but above all the possession of good works. “The Lord offers a free gift of grace, but it must be matched by a positive response from man, expressed not only in a verbal declaration of acceptance, but also in active cooperation, the fruit of which will be good works that fulfil God’s will”, concludes Fr. Zbigniew Grochowski.

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Full text:

https://heschel.kul.pl/the-choicest-feast-god-s-promise-shared-by-christians-and-jews,art_104380.html

 

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2024-07-20 23:15:14