AUGUST 19. Ord Time B. Wk 20. Thu. Mt 22. 1-14
Jesus began to speak to the chief priests and elders of the people in parables: ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a feast for his son’s wedding. He sent his servants to call those who had been invited, but they would not come. Next he sent some more servants. “Tell those who have been invited” he said “that I have my banquet all prepared, my oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, everything is ready. Come to the wedding.” But they were not interested: one went off to his farm, another to his business, and the rest seized his servants, maltreated them and killed them. The king was furious. He despatched his troops, destroyed those murderers and burnt their town. Then he said to his servants, “The wedding is ready; but as those who were invited proved to be unworthy, go to the crossroads in the town and invite everyone you can find to the wedding.” So these servants went out on to the roads and collected together everyone they could find, bad and good alike; and the wedding hall was filled with guests. When the king came in to look at the guests he noticed one man who was not wearing a wedding garment, and said to him, “How did you get in here, my friend, without a wedding garment?” And the man was silent. Then the king said to the attendants, “Bind him hand and foot and throw him out into the dark, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.” For many are called, but few are chosen.’
The wedding to which the people in today’s Parable were invited to attend was the Kingdom of Heaven with the marriage being the wedding of Christ and his people (The Church). The servants were sent to call “those who have been invited,” which was the Jews, however they rejected the invitation.
This led to the King saying ‘The wedding is ready; but as those who were invited proved to be unworthy go to the crossroads in the town and invite everyone you can find’ which led to the invitation being extended to the Gentiles; - and the mission given to St. Paul.
The tragedy here is the failure to appreciate (then and now) the value of what was being offered; - with God extending an invitation to his creatures to become members of his chosen people; - and all that this entailed; - but particularly membership of the Church, with all its gifts, and ultimately eternal life with God in heaven.
This is dealt with in the Acts of the Apostles where Paul and Barnabas said to the Jews; - “It was necessary the word of God should be spoken first to you. But since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we will leave you and go to the Gentiles. For this is the commandment that the Lord has given us” (Acts 13. 46-47)
The wedding garment referred to at the end of the parable indicates the dispositions one must have in order to enter into Christ’s Kingdom and eternal life. Sadly, many Christians have also rejected Christ’s invitation to “come to the wedding feast,” so it is important we understand the teachings of Christ in the Gospel, and what is involved if we are to respond to the invitation.
But it is not just the Jews who have rejected Christ’s call. Sadly, many Christians are living lives not in accord with the teachings of the Gospels, but Christ, at the end of the end of today’s parable, made it clear what will happen if his teachings go unheeded; -
“Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and throw him out into the dark, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.’”
Gospel Acclamation cf.Ps94:8
If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.