You’re Invited to the Wedding Feast

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jesus speaks again today in parables. “The Kingdom of Heaven,” he says, “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 (the guests) refused to come.” So the king invited his people to his son’s wedding feast anew. “Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast!”’

Some people responded with indifference; they had other things they preferred to do instead. Other people responded with hostility; ‘Don’t tell us what to do!‘ Who wouldn’t want to attend a king’s feast? Maybe they thought the food wouldn’t be that great or special. Maybe they didn’t love the king or his son very much. Maybe they thought that insulting or openly rebelling against their king and his son would hold no consequences for them.

The king would go on to invite others to his feast, anyone his servants could find, and his 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. Some scripture commentary says owning such a garment in those days was as common as owning a winter coat is around here. Others suggest a wealthy party host like the king might provide such festal garments to his guests at the door. The king asked him, “My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?” But he was reduced to silence. He was unprepared not due to inability, poverty, or some misunderstanding, which could have been forgiven. The man had no good reason to offer. So the king had him bound, by his hands and his feet, and thrown into the unhappy darkness outside.

What are we to make of all this? In this parable of Jesus about the Kingdom of Heaven, who is the king and who is his son? Where is this wedding feast and what does it consist of? And when invited to this feast, who ignores it, who rebels against it, and who comes unprepared for it?

The King in this parable is like God the Father. And the Son is Jesus Christ; who, elsewhere in the Scriptures, calls himself the bridegroom. Where and what is the wedding feast? Where is the holy mountain of the Lord of which Isaiah speaks in our first reading, where God’s people are gathered to rejoice and feast, with ‘rich food and choice wine, juicy, rich food, and pure, choice wine‘? The Old Testament Jews probably envisioned the city of Jerusalem and its temple. Today a Christian’s first thought might be to place this feast someday in Heaven. But our temple and our foretaste of Heaven is here and now. The Holy Mass is Christ’s Wedding Feast, where Jesus gives us his very self to eat. What richer or more choice food could exist than this?

In this time of pandemic, we are dispensed from attending Mass, yet we must still obey the Third Commandment: to keep holy the Lord’s Day. If your child were getting married this weekend and you could not attend due to illness, wouldn’t you still want to watch it live-streamed, even from home or a hospital bed? If remote participation at Holy Mass is unworkable, then connect with Christ through reading the Scriptures, through praying the Rosary, or other spiritual activities on Sundays. But under normal circumstances, when personal safety is no longer a concern, why would someone spurn their personal invitation to this feast? Maybe they believe this food isn’t that special or great. Maybe they do not love our King or the Son very much. Maybe they think that disobeying the Third Commandment carries no serious consequences for them. But all of you have come here today, and that is good. Please continue to do so, as conditions and sound prudence allow. And please invite your family members and friends here as well. It’s important that they come before the Lord.

And when you come, come properly dressed. In one sense, this is literally true – we should dress up for Sunday Mass since it’s a very special occasion. But in a more important and spiritual sense we must come in our wedding garment. At your baptism, you were dressed in a special white garment. In the Book of Revelation, the saints in Heaven are seen wearing white graments washed clean in the blood of the Lamb. Through grave sin we can cast off that garment, and receiving our Lord unworthily is a serious offense, so go to Confession first when needed to be reclothed. How will we answer our King someday if we neglect to do so?

You are invited to our King’s feast. And, if you are properly prepared, he wants you to receive our Lord with very happy hearts. So let us turn to the Eucharist, and rejoice as Isaiah foretold:

Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us!
This is the LORD for whom we looked;
let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!

The King declares, “Everything is ready; come to the feast!

Behold the Lamb of God,
behold Him who takes away the sins of the world.
Blessed are those called to the Supper of the Lamb.”

One Response to “You’re Invited to the Wedding Feast”

  1. pussywillowpress Says:

    And come every day :)!

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