At a time when many people are postponing their wedding celebrations till a later date, hopefully when the pandemic is abated and there is a vaccine available, in this Sunday’s readings, we are given the image of a banquet, as God’s invitation to share in his very life. The parable that Jesus presents to us is that of a king’s invitation to his son’s wedding feast and those invited rejecting the invitation.
The first reading from Isaiah is the one I hope someone will chose for my own funeral. What a wonderful image of eternal life, a joyous meal with plenty of food and wine expressing real deep love, happiness and friendship that God wants us to experience when we are with him forever. This invitation is for everyone, no one is excluded. God has no favourites. As we read in the gospel parable; when everyone who has been originally invited finds excuses not to come, then the king tells his servants to go to the crossroads and invite everyone they can find. There is no distinction made. The good and the bad alike are called. It reminds me of the hymn we sometimes sing at Mass written by Marty Hogan.
“Let us build a house where love is found
in water, wine and wheat:
a banquet hall on holy ground
where peace and justice meet.
Here the love of God, through Jesus,
is revealed in time and space;
as we share in Christ the feast that frees us.
All are welcome, all are welcome,
All are welcome in this place.”
It is the final section of the parable that can pull us up short. There is one of the invited men who is not wearing his wedding garment. When challenged by the king as to why he is not wearing the garment provided, he is silent. As a result, he is thrown out out into the darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Some suggest that the wedding garment represents our response to the life of grace. We are called to live up to the Christ-like life that is symbolised the white garment of the sacraments. St Paul writes “Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self, …. As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.” (Colossians 3:9-12). Our response to Gods invitation is to work with the grace that we have been given.
Lord help me to always say yes to your invitation each day. May I be always alert and listening for your call. Thank you for the wedding garment of the grace of your sacraments.