The King’s Invitation

Matthew 22: 1-14
Jgs 11:29-39a / Psa 40:5,7-10

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 comprehend, 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. Like the preceding parable of the wicked tenants (Lk.21:33-43), Jesus is again making a similar prophecy about the rejection of God’s kingdom (the wedding invitation), and the punishment that would befall the king’s enemies (destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70). 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 evangelize (invite) the rest of the world when the Jewish authorities began to persecute the early Church.

What is the significance (or insignificance) of the man “who was not wearing wedding clothes”? This one represents all those who responded to the invitation, but never bothered to put on the righteousness of Christ – the offered vestal garment. They are the Pharisees of this world who depend on their own good works and piety. They are proud of their own self-righteousness (their old clothes). 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).

God continues to invite many people to His banquet; whether it’s to His Eucharistic celebration, prayer assembly, breakfast fellowship, spiritual retreat or recollection. So, be aware then, you who choose to keep ignoring “the King’s invitation”; it may be too late when the day of reckoning suddenly comes upon us, or at the last hour, you find yourself in the banquet hall unprepared, ill dressed for the occasion, and the King approaches and asks you, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ Be prepared, or suffer the eternal consequence of your procrastination or indifference “into the darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

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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