Parable of the Wedding Feast

Matthew 22: 1-14
Ezek 36:23-38 / Psa 51

Many are invited, but few are chosen.
(Matthew 22:14)

Our sins are like a harsh rejection
Of a loving King’s invitation;
Only by Jesus’ intervention
Can we join heaven’s celebration

Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’ But they paid no attention and went off — one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are invited, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22: 1-14)

Reflection

Can we ascribe the cruel king in this parable to God, Who is a loving King, full of compassion for His subjects even when His invitation is rejected by many? Definitely not. Perhaps our Lord was in fact making a comparison in His parable with an earthly king, whose human reaction led to the destruction of the unworthy guests, and our Heavenly King, Who still shows compassion even when His invitation has time and again been rejected. In fact, it was not mere servants or messengers that were maltreated in God’s case, but His only beloved Son, whom we all crucified on the cross with our sins.

The existence of hell in the afterlife seems at first a contradiction in terms of the all-encompasssing goodness and mercy of God. But neither can the stark reality of grievous sins like murder, rape, avarice, etc. ever be a part of the kingdom of God. Such evil acts are all a clear and concrete rejection of God’s invitation, and one so stained is like an uninvited guest dressed in rags in the midst of all in formal wear in a wedding banquet. It would be better for that man to be “cast into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth” (Mt.22:13).

Every mortal sin that we commit is like a painful insult to God, Whose invitation to us is written in the blood of His beloved Son. Such a haughty rejection of the Divine Mercy and compassion only deserves the terrible consequence of His final justice.

God of mercy and love, You are also the Source of divine retribution. Forgive us for all our transgressions, and thank You for Your invitation. Grant us the grace to be worthy to enter Your heavenly banquet at the time of our death. Amen.

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