Ez 36:23-28 / Psa 51
The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding feast…
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 feast for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the feast 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 every-thing 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)
The Parable of the Wedding Feast in today’s Gospel bears a striking similarity with the theme of the Parable of the Tenants that Jesus related in the previous chapter (21:33-39). It is the theme of rejection. Like the landowner who planted a vineyard and invested greatly for the benefit of his tenants, the king in this parable also prepared so much food for his invited guests in the wedding banquet of his son. And yet both of them were spurned by the people they had been gracious to, and their servants even maltreated. What was the common significance of these two parables?
In a few days time, our Lord knew that He would be rejected by the multitude of Jews who had been following Him and praising Him for His wondrous words and works. Even His closest disciples would betray, deny and abandon Him on His way to Calvary. In effect, Jesus was making a prophecy of events to come. The destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans at a later time would be the consequence of their rejection of Jesus’ teachings. The “invited guests” were the Chosen People, the Jews. “All the people they could find, both good and bad” that came from street corners would be the Gentiles, the Christians all over the world who would inherit the new faith. Those who did not wear the wedding clothes of Christianity would be rejected. The wedding banquet was symbolic of the Church being the “bride” of Jesus Christ.
All mortal sins like pride, envy, lust, blasphemy, etc. are 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 is but natural for that man to be “cast into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth” (Mt.22:13). Every grievous 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 God’s final justice. Take heed then, lest we grow complacent in avoiding these sins.
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 when we finally leave our earthly life. Amen.
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