Come To The Feast
Parties are not for everyone. For those who like to go to parties you are excited to be invited and even more excited to attend. Our cluster has more than its share of weddings. We are always between ten and twenty weddings each year. That means for the other one hundred churches in our diocese they each get one or two weddings each year. Weddings are like the banquet in the gospel today. In the wedding plans today, people send out a card months in advance asking people to save the date. People ask how many people can the church hold? I ask in reply how many invitations have you sent out. The answer is usually between two hundred fifty and five hundred. Truth be told, those coming to the church portion of the wedding is usually about half. Those coming to the reception are a few more. Since no one keeps track, I wonder why more do not come to the wedding. We graciously assume that they were busy, or something came up where they can not attend. We let them off the hook, so to speak. In today’s gospel, the king was not so lenient. He, too, had sent advance notice. Apparently, no one came to the wedding.
The other question to ask about this invitation is why would you mistreat and kill the messengers? It is one thing if you must deliver bad news. People will be angry or stressed over the news. That is not a good reason to assault the messenger. They are just doing their job. But to assault the messenger supposedly for a good thing like a wedding banquet? What is wrong with these people? I guess you would not want to have friends like them. The king did not appreciate them either as he had them destroyed. A question to consider is what if you gave a party and no one came?
Do you think we can apply this story to the Church today? The king of course would be Jesus. Every Sunday Jesus sets up a banquet for us. His invitation is the fact that He is always calling us to come to the feast. His messengers are the priests and those who are willing to share their faith. How many today ignore His invitation? How many do not take time from their work or their life to come to the banquet? This gospel is so representative of what happens today. Think of the times the Church is attacked, ridiculed, or demeaned. Statues defaced or torn down. Churches burned or graffiti scrolled on the walls. The messengers are attacked or criticized. Some are even killed. So how will the king react to the people not responding to His invitation? Reread the gospel. Who will come to the feast? The bad and good alike, according to the gospel. Jesus wants to fill His hall with those who want to come.
A little thought about the wedding garment. Just because you are invited means you are not expected to participate. The free food and free beer is not the reason you come to church. It is to worship and praise God. The wedding garment signifies that you are here for the right reason.
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen