Word Magazine April 1986 Page 11


Homily By Father James C. Meena

Jesus was very fond of speaking to His disciples in parables. While parables are easy for us to understand today, I am sure that as He spoke to His disciples at that time they were mystified by what He was trying to get across to them. In St. Matthew, (22:2-14), He compares the Kingdom of Heaven to an earthly kingdom whose king was going to have a wedding feast for his son. Who would not rejoice at such a time and invite his friends? But a king, of course, has no real friends. A king has to deal with diplomats and politicians and other rulers and other members of royal families. This king sent his invitation to those elite people who were specifically entitled, by status, to attend the marriage feast of his son. While some might interpret this as referring to the children of Israel (and that is probably an accurate interpretation) it could also mean, you and me today because you and I are chosen as well (St. John 15:16).

He sent the invitations but these people were just too busy. They couldn’t be bothered. They didn’t even bother making excuses. Some ignored him while others insulted his servants and killed them to show their contempt for and pay the ultimate insult to that king. Naturally the king got angry and sent his armies to destroy those chosen people.

Then he reminded his servants that the wedding was still on. The food, all the preparations, the decorations, the musicians and everything was ready but he had no guests. “Go out and bring me anyone you can.” Do you think a king can get that desperate? Perhaps. Do you think that God would get so desperate? I think not! But I think the lesson is this: that God can make up the difference for all of us who fall short of His worthwhileness, if we really come into His kingdom. Jesus makes that point when He refers a custom of the day. Anyone going to a wedding feast wore special garments. Those not owning their own were provided them by the groom. As part of a rite of purification, as they came into the place of the wedding feast they washed themselves and they shed the clothing and the dust of the road and adorned themselves with clean wedding garments.

All those gypsies and tramps, the crippled, the halt, the blind, that his servants brought, the good and the bad, were adorned with new wedding garments set aside for those formerly invited. Now they had the status and somehow that King made up for what they lacked. The lesson in this is that, even though we fall short of the grace of God, and of the perfection that we know is necessary for us in order to be united with God, that if we are sincerely part of His Kingdom, God makes up the difference. He provides the wedding garments in order that we might enter into His Son’s feast. The wedding garment is the garment of repentance, of new life, of new commitments, of dedication, of total surrender to the will of God.

Among those hundreds of guests one was found who didn’t have on a wedding garment and He was cast out into the outer darkness. He was not ready to make the required change. You and I are invited to be members of a wedding in the Kingdom of Heaven. We are invited to rejoice with the Maker of all joy. Don’t worry if you aren’t perfect. Don’t be concerned if you have not attained to complete holiness yet. All He requires of you is that you really want to be a part of this feast and that you are going to try to change, and every time you fall, you are going to pick up and try again. He will give you the wedding garment. He will make up the difference and we will rejoice with Him forever. “Remember it is God Himself who assures us all, and you, of our standing in Christ and has anointed us, marking us with His seal and giving us the pledge, the Spirit, that we carry in our hearts,” (II Cor. 2:1). What a phenomenal promise and what a beautiful description of our relationship with God. How can we fail so long as we know that God is with us? How can we allow ourselves to be weighted down by the depressions of life so long as we understand that we are members of the wedding, guests at His feast, sharing in the joyous sumptuousness of that table that He has set for those who are called?