Everyone (at some level or another) desires to be wanted, welcomed, included, loved and accepted. Dances and celebrations; Birthday, dinner and anniversary parties are all wonderful events to welcome and invite others, or to be invited and welcomed by others, in order to share joy and gladness. They are opportunities to include, and show loving care to those who accept the invitation and attend the event.
In the gospel reading, Jesus tells the story of an incredibly gracious invitation to a fabulous banquet. The banquet host is not “just anyone,” but rather, a King who prepared a wedding banquet for his son! He sent out his servants to tell the invited guests to come because everything was prepared and ready for them, but they refused. “Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared… and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’ But they paid no attention and went off – one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.” (Matthew 22: 4-7)
Then the king sent yet more servants to all the “highways and byways” to invite anyone they could find so that the banquet hall would be filled. But then as the king looked over those who had come, “He noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are invited, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22: 11-14)
Jesus’ parable spoke harshly against the scribes and Pharisees, against the People of Israel, who were repeatedly invited by God (the King) to join in the celebration of the Son (Jesus). Throughout the centuries they rejected, mistreated and even killed his servants (the prophets) who came bringing the invitation to an eternal banquet in honor of Jesus, the Son who is the Savior of the World.
God’s incredibly gracious invitation to the fabulous heavenly banquet in honor of His Son, is open to everyone! He takes “no pleasure in the death of anyone.” (Ezekiel 18: 32) Rather, He welcomes, invites and includes all people, everywhere, to this eternal celebration. But there are many today who are looking for other banquets and feasts. The Hindu, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists and others are looking for “banquets” which will never come. How about the crowds that surround you every day? Many are completely unaware or unconcerned about their invitation to faith and eternal life! There are even those, members of Holy Cross, who are more concerned about “their fields and businesses” than they are about living as faithful disciples of the Savior!
“Many are invited (welcomed), but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22: 14) Only those who wear the robe of Christ’s forgiveness, mercy and grace are counted as righteous -“worthy and well prepared” to feast eternally at the Father’s heavenly banquet. May we be among the multitudes, who by God’s grace hear, receive and accept God’s gracious invitation to feast at the eternal banquet table! What a joy to live for Him now and with Him in eternity!
See you in church this next weekend!
Blessings in Christ,