Read: 2 Corinthians 1:21-2:4; Matthew 22:1-14
Jesus tells us, “Many are invited, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). This parable is one that is easily misunderstood. Who are those that are invited? In the context of the whole gospel, the group that Jesus chastises the most are the scribes and the Pharisees, of whom he said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You lock the kingdom of heaven (see v. 22:2) before human beings. You do not enter yourselves (see v. 22:3), nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter” (Matthew 23:13). These are the elite, those who expected first places in the kingdom, but they put their own interests first. (“Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business” v. 22:5.)
God, however, will have his banquet, so he brings in everyone from the streets, both bad and good. In Matthew 13:47, Jesus teaches, “The kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind.” However, at the end all are gathered, the good harvest along with the weeds. The angels collect the weeds and destroy them (Matthew 13:38-40). This explains the man who comes without a wedding garment, who is “cast out into the darkness outside. (v. 22:13)” This was not as arbitrary as it seems, for it was the Eastern custom for a rich man who gave a dinner to also give the proper clothing to his guests, so the man who refused to come in the wedding garment was someone who deliberately insulted his host, refusing and snubbing his gift. So, too, if we are to attend the wedding feast, we must put on Christ, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:27-28). Thus, we understand this Sunday’s parable. The banquet is real and today. Today, we partake of the Body and Blood of Christ. Today, we are made one in Christ at his wedding feast, uniting himself with his holy Church. Today, we must put on a new garment for our soul, so that we can live a Christian life.
Meditation by Archpriest David Petras