A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew:
Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and elders of the people
in parables, saying,
“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 he sent other servants, saying,
‘Tell those invited: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet,
my calves and fattened cattle are killed,
and 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.
The king was enraged and sent his troops,
destroyed those murderers, and burned their city.
Then he said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready,
but those who were invited were not worthy to come.
Go out, therefore, into the main roads
and invite to the feast whomever you find.’
The servants went out into the streets
and gathered all they found, bad and good alike,
and the hall was filled with guests.
But when the king came in to meet the guests,
he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment.
The king said to him, ‘My friend, how is it
that you came in here without a wedding garment?’
But he was reduced to silence.
Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet,
and cast him into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’
Many are invited, but few are chosen.”
This parable is about you.
All parables are about you.
What Jesus said and knew would be written down, was for your benefit. Put yourself in the parable and I’ll do the same.
A King threw a wedding feast for his Son, and we are the bride. You and I have always been the bride. If you are a human soul, you are the bride. The calves and fatted cattle are killed and everything is ready, come to the feast and be happy with your Beloved for all time. That is your vocation, because you are human. But not everybody comes to the feast.
You and I are the honored guests who were invited to the wedding but who went away, one to his farm, another to his business. Of course, some people do get to the wedding by means of the farm and the business. If it’s your vocation to work the farm or run the business so your family and your neighbors can eat, then that’s what the King wants you to do. The fruit of your farm and the profit of your business are the gift you bring to the wedding. Everyone who benefits from your farm and your business are the king’s Son and the king’s Bride, and you should treat them as if you are. So the farm and the business aren’t bad. They’re wonderful. But there’s always the danger that you get so wrapped up in your farm or your business that you forget about the king’s feast entirely. You might think that growing and making and selling things are the whole point, instead of the road to the wedding feast and the gift that you bring to the wedding. You might not recognize the Son and the Bride when they come to you, and treat them badly, and refuse to feed them if they can’t pay.
Have you done that? Repent, and go to the wedding.
Some laid hold of the King’s servants, mistreated and killed them. That’s also us, as I mentioned last week. That’s what the Church has done from the beginning, and that’s what you and I have done far too often. We are always seeing the king’s servants, wearing the mask of a hungry person who needs food or a refugee who needs shelter, or a lonely person who needs a listening ear or an irritating person who needs our patience.
How have you treated the King’s servants? Repent, and go to the wedding.
‘The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.’
That is also us. We’re not worthy to come to the feast. We’re not clean enough or famous enough or fancy enough, but we’re invited anyway. We are asked to come to the wedding, and meet the King’s Son, and fall in Love, and become the Bride. But we can’t met Him unless we come to the wedding.
At the wedding, there is a man without a wedding garment. That is also you and me. We can’t afford a wedding garment. We’re the riff-raff the king’s servants recruited off of the street. The king asks us, “How is it you came in here without a wedding garment?”
The man says nothing. That’s the wrong answer. What you’re supposed to do is speak up. “I don’t have a wedding garment because I am poor. I didn’t know your Son until a moment ago, because I’m not important. In fact, I was brought in off the street by you servants just now. But I like it here, and I’m falling in love with your Son, and I’d like to stay. Would you give me something to wear?” And the king would do that for us. The worst thing you can say is nothing.
We are also the man grinding his teeth in the darkness outside.
But don’t despair, because outside is where the servants go to bring the good and the bad into the wedding. Just call out to them. Ask for a wedding garment. And go in to the wedding.
This parable is about you.
What you do is up to you.
The wedding is waiting for us. The king’s servants are looking for us. Many are called and few are chosen, not because the King doesn’t love us but because so few show up to be chosen. That doesn’t have to be you or I. You and I are invited. The Son loves us so deeply. Repent, and go in to the wedding.
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