Summary: There was no procedural compliance in terms of the man’s dress which is symbolic that he was not clothed in his white baptismal garment (saved).
The Wedding Garment—
An old Baptist preacher’s story tells of a parishioner who greeted his minister at the close of the service with the same observation, Sunday after Sunday: “You really gave it to them today, Preacher!” Over time, the minister became concerned that this parishioner never seemed to consider anything in a sermon to be applicable to himself. He always seemed to exult in the fact that the preacher had given it “to them,” whoever them happened to be. At long last, there came a Sunday when a heavy snowstorm kept everybody away from church except for the preacher and this particular parishioner. Abandoning the sermon he already had prepared for that morning, the preacher decided to focus exclusively on the sins and shortcomings he had noticed in the life of his singular captive audience. When the sermon and the service were finished, the lone parishioner came to the door and shook the preacher’s hand as he did every Sunday. The preacher waited, wondering how this parishioner would react to the blistering sermon he just had heard. “Well, Preacher,”the parishioner began, “If they’ed had been here today, you would really have given it to them!”
We just heard “an allegory of salvation history,” which also included a reference to Jerusalem being burned by the Roman Empire in the year 70 AD.
It’s a parable about our response to God’s call, cautioning us about the dangers of indifference and indignation and anger at the idea that we are sinners in need of salvation.
The part about the man not properly dressed with suitable attire was added on this parable in order to highlight the importance that the free grace of God does not free one from one’s moral obligations.
There was a man who said he spent a week at a Benedictine monastery with a group of seminary students. He said, “At noon every day those of us in the guest house joined the monks for prayer along with a number of people from the local community. One day I watched a couple of retirement age make their way up to pray. The man wore a sweatshirt that said, "I can only be nice to one person a day, and today is not your day. Tomorrow doesn't look too good either." What was he thinking, I wondered. And why did his wife let him get out of the house dressed that way to go pray in community. The next day they were back, and his sweatshirt read, "What don't you understand about the word 'no'?"
1). There was no procedural compliance in terms of the man’s dress which is symbolic that he was not clothed in his white baptismal garment (saved). E.g. At a baptism, the priest or deacon says, “N. you have become a new creation, and have clothed yourself in Christ. See in this white garment the outward sign of your Christian dignity. With your family and friends to help you by word and example, bring that dignity unstained into the everlasting life of heaven.”
Notice that the parable says that both the good and the bad were invited to the feast.
As one theologian has described it, it is like several ship passengers who happen to get washed overboard in the mid-Atlantic. The reasons for slipping off the deck vary from individual to individual. As each one discovers his own plight and finds his companions are in the same cold water, however, it is meaningless to debate who is deserving and who is not. All are in the water. It does not make any difference whether one is traveling first-class or economy, whether one is religious or not religious, even whether one is a good swimmer or not. The parable clearly says that both the good and the bad were invited. The need is a total need. That is our condition. There is no way that you or I can put on the proper wedding garment by our own power. It is supplied by Christ by faith and baptism.
And if it got dirty it could be washed by repentance.
The man could have repented, and repentance is the condition of acquittal at the Last Judgement.
Repentance does not mean anything if you keep doing what you're sorry for.
Repentance is not when you cry. Repentance is when you change.
The way we ‘put on our wedding garment’ and arrive for Mass in a state of grace, is through the sacrament of confession.
2). There was also no readiness by the man without the proper attire—
Years and years ago, people used to have “Come as You Are” parties. For those under 50, I’ll explain. You’d get a phone call and whatever you were wearing at that moment, was what you had to wear to a party that weekend. Folks would show up in jammies and slippers, in their gardening or workout clothes, in paint-spattered overalls, and everyone thought this was hilarious. Really, they did. The honor system was, well, honored, and people blushingly wore what you “caught” them in.