Summary: We repent and show in our character and conduct that we are invited guests to enjoy the eternal life in the kingdom of God.
The Extraordinary Wedding Feast
Dear sisters and brothers,
Today, we have the text from the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 22:1-14) for our reflection:
“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 has been given many allegorical traits by the Gospel writer, Matthew.
1. The burning of the city of the guests who refused the invitation (Matthew 22:7), which corresponds to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D. 70.
2. It has similarities with the preceding parable of the tenants:
a. The sending of two groups of servants (Matthew 22:3, 4),
b. The murder of the servants (Matthew 22:6),
c. The punishment of the murderers (Matthew 22:7), and
d. The entrance of a new group into a privileged situation of which the others had proved themselves unworthy (Matthew 22:8–10).
The parable ends with a section that is peculiar to Matthew (Matthew 22:11–14), which some take as a distinct parable.
Matthew presents the kingdom in its double aspect, already present and something that can be entered here and now (Matthew 22:1–10), and something that will be possessed only by those present members, who can stand the scrutiny of the final judgment (Matthew 22:11–14).
The parable is not only a statement of God’s judgment on Israel but a warning to Matthew’s church.
The Old Testament’s portrayal of final salvation under the image of a banquet (Isaiah 25:6-8):
“On this mountain the LORD of hosts
will provide for all peoples
a feast of rich food and choice wines,
juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.
On this mountain he will destroy
the veil that veils all peoples,
the web that is woven over all nations;
he will destroy death forever.”
It is also taken up in (Matthew 8:11):
“I say to you, many will come
from the east and the west,
and will recline with Abraham, Isaac,
and Jacob at the banquet
in the kingdom of heaven.”
Probably, in both the instances, Matthew’s prophets and wise men and scribes are probably Christian disciples or Christian missionaries.
I send to you prophets
and wise men and scribes;
some of them you will kill and crucify,
some of them you will scourge in your synagogues
and pursue from town to town” (Matthew 23:34).
Bad and Good alike:
“The kingdom of heaven is
like a net thrown into the sea,
which collects fish of every kind”
A wedding garment:
The repentance, change of heart and mind, is the condition for entrance into the kingdom.
John the Baptist preached saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (Matthew 3:2).
From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17).
The repentance must be continued in life through good deeds (Matthew 7:21–23):
““Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’
will enter the kingdom of heaven,
but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
Many will say to me on that day,
‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name?
Did we not drive out demons in your name?
Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’
Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you.