The Heavenly Banquet
A wedding feast is a beautiful family celebration. A man and a woman pledge their love to each other in an exclusive manner, and look forward to a joyful life with children. Everyone is excited to share in the joy of the couple, and new friendships have a chance to blossom. So for one day people can forget the trials and sufferings of life, and pray for the happiness of the couple.
Jesus loved to address the crowds in parables, and he does so in today’s gospel about a wedding feast. Parables were his favorite teaching tool because they were easy for people to understand. Jesus gave a number of parables about the kingdom of God, e.g. as a net to catch fish, a pearl of great price. Today’s parable of the wedding feast is a more detailed description of the kingdom of heaven, and it carries a very serious message.
In the story, many of the invited guests refused to come, and some even abused the servants. We understand that to mean that there are many people in our world who refuse to respond to the invitation of God to be part of God’s family. They run the risk of being destroyed some day if they persist in turning their backs upon God.
The king tells his servants go out and invite everyone to the banquet so that the hall would be filled. No one is excluded in this parable. However someone is not properly dressed for the occasion. In this situation we understand that to mean that there is a dividing line separating the saved from the unsaved. If a person is not a good living individual, he or she lacks the “wedding garment” required to enter the kingdom of God. It is the wedding garment of repentance and conversion of heart. The stain of serious sin keeps a person out of the kingdom of God. No one can sneak into the kingdom.
Jesus is the Savior and Lord for every person on the face of the earth whether they know it or not.
All are invited to be part of his kingdom. But each person needs to respond to the God’s saving grace. I cannot do it for you. You cannot do it for me. We believe that our kind and merciful God desires all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. Let us pray for conversion of heart for those who have not come to know the living God.
Fr. Michael Salvagna, CP