The Parable of the Wedding Feast
“The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come.
A second time: ‘Tell those invited: “everything is ready; come to the feast.”’ Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them.” (Matthew 22:2-4)
This most definitely is no way to respond to the generous, kind invitation of the king to joyously celebrate the wedding of the king’s son. The king prepared a feast or banquet in celebration of this joyous event. The fattened calves and fattened cattle were killed and all was prepared to begin the banquet. The message to the invited guests was: “Everything is ready, come to the feast.” However, those first invited ignored the cordial invitation. They make excuses of various kinds as to why they cannot come: some just ignore it and leave, another to his farm, another to his business. Some do not merely refuse to accept the king’s invitation, but lay hold of the messenger servants and mistreat or even kill them. We read that the king is upset (enraged) over their refusal and mistreatment of the messenger servants. The king then sent his troops to punish them.
The king regards these first invited as not worthy to attend. He then orders the messenger servants to go out “into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.” The banquet hall is now filled with guests. The invitation is an open one to the good and to the bad.
God’s love for man is for all. God calls each and every one of us to salvation, to come and partake of the Heavenly Banquet. All, however, will not respond positively to this invitation. God is calling us to love Him above any other person and any other thing or possession. God is to be at the center of our daily lives. We need to set our priorities straight so that when the King calls us to the Heavenly Banquet we may be willing and ready to respond “yes”. We are to “set aside every earthly care.” God alone is to have the first place in our daily lives. Those in today’s gospel speak about going to one’s farm or taking care of some business. For us today, the distractions may be money, power or prestige. May we be living in the Spirit of Christ so as to be ready to open our hearts to the Lord and follow His Holy Will.
We who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. We’ve taken off the old self laden with sin and put on Christ. The baptized in Christ have been cleansed of all sin. The baptized have promised to serve Christ. This decision to serve the Lord is not just a one-day occurrence. But rather, the Christian life is to be lived all the days of our lives. The guest who came to the wedding feast without the proper attire (clothing) showed a lack of respect and concern for the ways of the king. Likewise, when we stand before the Lord God seeking entry into the banquet in the eternal Kingdom of God, may we be properly clothed. The true Christian remains a humble servant of the Master who seeks to render constant praise to the eternal God.
When our time comes and indeed only the Lord God knows the hour and the day, may we be ready having “put on” Christ and living in the grace of God. May our lives be so in tune with the Lord that we could say as did St. Paul: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives within me. Our hearts are to remain open to keep the Commandments to live according to the Holy Will of God. May we be humble servants of the Lord who live here on earth “with and in Christ” in order to one day live forever with Him in Heaven. May we enter into that place of Light where all the just and saints repose.
Rev. D. George Worschak