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All Are Invited

Can you imagine having a wedding reception and no one wanting to come? All of the food and drinks are prepared, but no guests have shown up. Would you just go out and invite whomever you saw?

That is what the king in this Sunday’s Gospel reading did. He gave a wedding banquet for his son, but no one would come. He first sent his slaves to bring those who had been invited, but they refused. Then he sent other slaves to those on the guest list, but they were ignored, and some slaves were even abused and killed. That made the king very angry.

“The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.' Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.” (Matthew 22:7-10)

Can you imagine?! A wedding hall filled with strangers. No doubt, most of them are there for the free food and drink. But it says they are both good and bad, so who really knows how they will behave.

The next thing that happens is that the king notices someone not dressed properly at the banquet. He then banishes that guest to “the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” What did he expect? They grabbed people off of the streets; surely not everyone would have a “wedding robe.”

This reminds me of when we used to attend a church in a downtown area that had a lot of homeless and poor people. The main reason the church was located there was to outreach to the surrounding community. There was a homeless man who came just about every week to worship, as well as other activities. He wore whatever clothes he had, and might have been a little more dirty than the rest of us, but the congregation accepted him as one of their own. No one cared what he wore, or how clean he was.

The king is the main character in this parable; it is mentioned that it is his son’s banquet, but that is the only mention of the son. It is the king who does the inviting, and the king who gets angry and banishes the guest who is not dressed right.

According to Wikipedia: “The classical interpretation of Matthew's version of the parable is that the king is God; the king's son is Jesus himself; the original invited guests are the Jews; the king's servants who are attacked are God's prophets; and the new guests are the Gentiles and other 'unworthy'.” Those invited do not come, so the invitation was extended to others. In the early days of Christianity, most Jews did not accept God’s invitation for salvation, so it was extended to the Gentiles, as well.

God’s invitation is open to all, Jews and Gentiles, like the king invited everyone in this parable. Everyone is invited to the banquet, but few will actually attend. God’s kingdom is open to everyone, but not everyone will accept his invitation. Have you?

Shari Van Baale
Communications Coordinator

Tags: Weekly Word