Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This gospel ought to make us think: what is the Lord preparing for us in heaven, at this wedding, in this banquet? What could it be that St. Paul says eye has not seen, nor ear has heard what God has prepared for us? How doo I live my vocation as a single or married person or priest in light of this marriage banquet? How am I preparing for it by washing, cleansing, dressing, anointing myself and my spouse, and those close to me? Do I ever think about it and those who have gone before me?
There is a connection of this gospel of the wedding feast and the one of last week about the wicked tenants. The son in both gospels is the same. Last week they killed him. And this week we see him risen and his Father is preparing his messianic banquet for him in heaven, and he wants to fill every seat. Who is the bride? There are many! It is you and me and all the saints in heaven.
There are two strange reactions in the gospel this week. Why would those who received the invitation have such a violent reaction to the ones who invited them? It’s unusual. Can’t they just say no, and be on their way? Let’s think about it for a minute. To be at a feast means one has to rest. Perhaps they could not. They could not stop working. They had this inner drive to do things and prove themselves. For them to rest meant to be anxious, then to get angry, and then violence. They were only happy when they could do what they considered important for themselves.
It could also be that they did not accept their weaknesses or their limitations or their nothingness and they never wanted to be reminded of it. And so they worked and never stopped. Don’t you see people like this today, even during a pandemic? Absolutely! It takes a brave soul to be at peace with who I am, with my inabilities, with my brokenness. Yes to struggle against them but to accept them and not be afraid to look at them.
Rest means to let go. It means not to produce or achieve. Some people cannot stop it. Rest doesn’t mean to do nothing, but to let go of the normal things, to do something different and hopefully deeper. It means to praise God, to give thanks, to show love to the other. It doesn’t mean to vegetate on the couch all weekend.
This idea of unworthy is also good to think about. One is not born unworthy. He or she becomes unworthy by his actions, his decisions. To be offered something great and fantastic and turn it down makes one unworthy, especially if it is done repeatedly. The servants were not concerned about going to the feast. They could care less.
The other unusual point was the Father’s reaction to the lack of a wedding garment. Many writers call this a lack of good deeds, or absence of a change of heart. This is true, but it is not enough. In this context of an amazing feast perhaps the garment is something of beauty. It would be fit for the groom; it would complement him. Perhaps you could say it was chastity, but more in the sense of purity of heart. The person really wanted to be there even though he was not on the A-list. They knew that they were unworthy but their purity of heart got them a seat anyway. Do you and I have a pure heart, a pure intention when we do something for Christ? Do we do it just for him or is there a hint of something else?
The wedding garment could be to ‘put on’ Christ; to not let the ‘old man’ enter this celebration and to put on the ‘new man.’ St. Paul says put on the Lord Jesus and make no provisions for the flesh or for the world. A good question for us this week, brothers and sisters, is to what degree have I accepted this invitation to this banquet, where I can be the bride of Christ?