Invited Guests

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28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Isa 25:6-10a
Phip 4:12-14,19-20
Mt 22:1-14

Today, we are going to listen to another parable from the Matthew 22: 1 -14, the third one in the series of parables regarding the Israelites rejecting God who loves and desires to save them.

In the parables of two sons, the Israelites did not obey God, the Father; in the parable of the tenants and vineyard, they did not bear fruits and they actually killed the Son. In this Sunday’s Reading, Jesus tells the parable of the marriage feast. The invited guests refuse to come to the wedding feast, the feast of joy and happiness.

The king sends the  invitation to guests. The king indeed sends the invitation not only one time, but three times. The first time, they refuse to come. The second time, they treat the king’s servants badly and even kill them. The third time, the king sends the invitation to all others, and one of them does not wear the wedding dress

God’s wedding feast is always available to you, but what is your responsibility with his invitation?

Very clearly, the parable implies that God the Father sends the invitation to the Israelites so that they can enjoy the heavenly banquet, but they refuse to come. Furthermore, they kill prophets, even God’s own Son, Jesus Christ. The refusal of God’s invitation to the wedding feast shows how the Israelites refuse to receive the Holy Spirit. The Savior, Jesus Christ is sent to proclaim the Gospel to all peoples; therefore, all people are invited to the banquet, both bad and good, Jews and Gentiles. To refuse the invitation of God is to refuse to have eternal life with the Father; to ignore the invitation of God is to ignore the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ; and to reject the invitation of God is to reject the gift of the Holy Spirit. In addition, in verses 11-14, Mathew emphasizes that guests must wear wedding dresses. According to Warren W. Wiersbe, this implies the “gift of righteousness that God provides through Christ for all who believe.”[i] But the gift of righteousness can only be received through the Holy Spirit. Therefore, if one rejects Christ, it means he rejects to wear his righteousness. In other words, rejecting Christ’s righteousness is a rejection of the Holy Spirit. In short, three parables reveal how much God loves the Israelites, and how Israel rejects the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Another point that we can learn from this parable is about gift and responsibility. God invites all people to his banquet. The door is open to everybody. God’s grace is for everybody, but with responsibility. We are free to receive God’s grace (health, intellect, love, family…), but we are responsible for these gifts. We are free to receive God’s grace in the Eucharist every Sunday, but we have responsibility to prepare for that grace. We cannot go to the Eucharist without preparation. We cannot go to the Eucharist, the Feast of Sacrificial Lamb without having a proper “dress.” The preparation and dress that we should consider before going to Sunday Eucharist are forgiveness, reconciliation, openness, humility, and especially a pure heart. 

God still invites you each day to his wedding feast in the Eucharist; so what is your response? God’s wedding feast is always available to you, but what is your responsibility with his invitation?

* * *

This is a story about four people: Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was asked to do it. Everybody was sure Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it. Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when actually Nobody asked Anybody.

Actually, the greatest Somebody of all is telling not just Anybody, but You, that there is a most important job to be done. Moreover, Nobody but You is being asked to do that job. The Lord Jesus is asking nobody but You to look redeemed and to act redeemed.[ii]

[i] Warren W. Wiersbe, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the New Testament, 78-79 (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1997).

[ii] Pulpit Humor, Vol I, (New Jersey:Sermon Warehouse, 2005), 131.

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