Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle A

Twenty Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

banquet.jpg

 

Matthew 22: 1-14

"Invite everyone you find … "

The constant message of Jesus is that the reign of God is at hand, that God is present and active in our midst. He calls it the kingdom of God and today Jesus compares the kingdom to a wedding feast given by a king for his son. The guests have been invited and are now informed that all is ready – but they turned down the invitation and ignored or even beat up the messengers. There are striking similarities between today's parable of the wedding feast and last week's parable of the murderous tenants of the vineyard.

In both parables those first called by God are rejected because of their lack of response and for their refusal to listen to God’s messengers. In both parables they are replaced by a new set of people who will produce the expected fruits and, in today’s parable, who will be admitted to the king’s banquet. The surprising element of the story is that these newcomers include ‘bad and good alike’, publicans and sinners; all and sundry are now assembled in the ‘wedding hall’. There appears to be no limit to the king’s generosity.

So, it comes as a shock when one man not wearing a proper wedding garment, one of the very people brought in from the highways and byways, is so harshly thrown out of the party. So what is this ‘wedding garment’ that is required? From God’s side, all is grace, utterly free gift; we are invited into his kingdom, to share at his banquet, not for anything we have done to deserve it, but simply because of God’s generosity. But to accept his invitation means to accept a way of living. The garment here is an image for a life led according to God’s word as it has been revealed to us in Christ. However great is God’s goodness to us, we can still exclude ourselves by our own lack of response.