Do you remember the movie, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”? The movie is about a Greek girl’s quest to marry a man who is not Greek, and the difficult but humorous time she has in getting her large family, dominated by a loving and overbearing father, to accept her boyfriend into the fold.
Everyone I talk to has their favorite parts of the movie, but the funniest moments for me are the times her brothers tell her fiancée to say something in Greek to the family which unknowingly to him is usually something like, “Hey, you a big ugly pimple on your nose”. And another scene I liked was a certain overbearing, yet loving Greek father, spraying Windex on anything is a cure-all!
It’s a movie that makes you smile; it’s a movie that’s about inviting someone to the wedding feast of life that is not one of your own.
It is the message in the Gospel today. Everyone is welcome to the wedding feast; go out and bring in those not originally a part of the fold. And let’s celebrate!
Hilaire Belloc wrote: "Wherever the Catholic sun does shine, there is always laughter and good red wine..." In today's parable, Jesus is reminding His Jewish audience that when the Messiah comes, there will be great cause for celebrating. One bonus will be a first-class sit-down supper. The menu is alluded to in Isaiah 25: "juicy red food and pure choice wines." Clearly, it will be the mother of all parties.
It is important to note that Jesus compares living in His company to enjoying a sumptuous banquet. He feels His Church should be a happy place.
We do well to remind ourselves of this wedding parable. Often the charge against the Church is it removes happiness from life. Many regard the Gospels as a force that would have us doing the things we dislike, and avoiding the activities that we are anxious to perform.
The Gospels show Jesus could not have been a gloomy man. Firstly, we are told that children were constantly pestering Him. Kids loved his company.
Secondly, he clearly enjoyed a good time! Jesus was invited to a wedding feast at Cana and he accepted the invitation. He went because Jesus is always present where there is a celebration of life and love, a celebration of relationship. Religion is first and foremost about relationship. And what did He do at the wedding? He changed 6 stone jugs 25-30 gallons each into the choicest wine. That’s a lot of wine!
Thirdly, had He been a spoilsport, why would He have hosted a sit-down supper party the night before His death? Would you have the heart for that? The bottom line is Jesus loved good times, rich laughter, and great company.
Laughter is the only tranquilizer yet developed that has no side effects. Our expressions are the most important garment a Christian wears. Yet, how many of us know fellow Christians who never smile? They walk about with a mad look on their face all the time. They are people one instinctively avoids. God has invited each of us to his Son’s wedding feast: the fullness of God’s life in the Resurrection. The only obstacle is our inability to hear his invitation amid the noisy activity that consumes our time and attention.
The banquet is ready here in our celebration of the Eucharist. God wants us to know that we are invited. All that is needed for us is to respond to God’s invitation. We can be certain that if we come wearing the proper clothes, that is, ready to acknowledge our need for God, and ready to share with open hearts the blessing God give us, God will provide the feast.