In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus gives us another parable that recapitulates Salvation History fairly well. The King in the parable represents God, Who wants to invite His people to His Son’s feast (the Wedding Supper of the Lamb in heaven—Revelation 19:19). The King sent His servants, the prophets of the Old Testament, to “call those who had been invited.” Israel, like the guests in the parable, did not listen to those prophets/servants. The King sent more servants/prophets but Israel, those invited, still ignored them and some of the ones who were invited even killed the servants/prophets (cf. Matthew 23:37). Eventually, the King “dispatched His troops” and destroyed those murderers, which is what we see happen to Israel in the “Exile” when they were captured and dragged off to foreign lands as we saw last week.
This Sunday, as Jesus tells us in His parable, He is sending new servants to “invite everyone [they] can find to the wedding.” These servants are the Apostles—the twelve heads of the New Kingdom of God. This is what evangelisation is: Our participation in the Apostles’ mission to invite everyone, good and bad alike, to the feast of the Son (cf. also Matthew 28:19-20).
Of course, everyone is called to the feast, but not everyone lives a life, or even tries to live a life, worthy of their invitation. This is the person who is chucked out of the wedding feast at the end of Jesus’ parable for not having a wedding garment.
This wedding garment represents God’s grace given to you in Christ by the Holy Spirit at Baptism (cf. Romans 13:14). However, venial sin damages and rips this garment and mortal (deadly) sin completely destroys it and removes it from you and removes God’s divine life (His grace) from you (cf. 1 John 5:16-17). Of course, if we are completely separated from God, the source of life, we are spiritually dead. If we do not repent and seek the Sacrament of Confession to resurrect our dead souls by giving us that grace back, we will enter the banquet without our wedding garment and we will be chucked out.
Those who live with God’s wedding garment in this life will have everything they need, as St Paul tells us in our Second Reading from the Letter to the Philippians (cf. also Romans 8:28). Our First Reading from Isaiah and our Psalm also focus heavily on the unlimited and unending goodness that is prepared for those who love God and have their garment (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:9). But there’s an important element that needs reminding in our time: This goodness prepared for servants of Jesus, this reward that is coming to those who have their garment, is given to them once they have died with Christ and then resurrected with Him; it is not a goodness meant to be found in its fullness in this present life. Our time here on earth is a time of testing and preparation for our blessed reward.
The Eucharist, “the pledge of life eternal,” strengthens our early participation of the life of heaven here on earth. Our union and complete identification with Jesus on this earth is the seedling of our heavenly reward that will bloom into its fullness in heaven where God
“will wipe away every tear from [our] eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things [will] have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)
Let us live lives worthy of our invitation, knowing “that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ,” (Philippians 1:6).