The Wedding Invitation

Matthew 22: 1-14
Jgs 11:29-39a / Psa 40

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.
(Matthew 22:2-3)

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. So 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, the bad as well as the good, 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. He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ 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

The imagery in some of the Lord’s parables are at times quite difficult to discern, and one must think out of the box, so to speak, in order to understand the message of the Gospel passage. First of all, it is important to know the time and place when our Lord delivered this parable. He was already in Jerusalem; the end of His life’s journey was at hand, and in a few days He would see the culmination of His mission on earth. As in the previous Parable of the Tenants that he had just given, that clearly pointed to the chief priests and the Pharisees as the antagonists (the evil tenants), Jesus is again making the same prophecy about the rejection of God’s kingdom (the wedding invitation), and the punishment that would befall the king’s enemies (death and destruction). The Chosen Guests (the Jews) would reject God’s invitation (faith in His Son, Jesus Christ), so the invitation would be extended instead to the Gentiles (the strangers from street corners). The servants were the apostles, who would soon be dispersed to invite (evangelize) the rest of the world when the Jewish authorities persecuted the early Church.

What do we make then of the man “who was not wearing wedding clothes”? This one represents all those who responded to the invitation but never bothered to prepare for the coming of the Kingdom of God. These are the people our Lord referred to in the last days “who stand outside knocking and saying, ’Lord, open the door for us. . . we ate and drank in Your company and You taught in our streets.’” But Jesus would tell them, “I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!” (Lk.13:25-27). They are rejected who do not wear the vestal clothes of Christianity. The wedding banquet symbolizes the Church being the “bride” of Jesus Christ. To be a worthy wedding guest in the Heavenly Kingdom, we must “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh” (Rom.13:14).

Be aware then, those who choose to keep ignoring “the King’s wedding invitation”; it may be too late for you when you suddenly find yourself in the banquet hall unprepared, ill dressed for the occasion, and He asks you, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ Be prepared, or suffer the eternal consequences of procrastination or indifference.

Dear God, thank You for Your kind invitation which you have so lovingly extended to us, written in the blood of Your Beloved Son, our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. We are not worthy to enter Your kingdom because of our sins, but Your divine plan of salvation, through Your grace and mercy, has given us the hope of eternal happiness in the eternal banquet in heaven. Amen.

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