Matthew 22:1-14 (NRSV)
Chapter 22Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: Verse 2"The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. Verse 3He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. Verse 4Again he sent other slaves, saying, 'Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.' Verse 5But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, Verse 6while the rest seized his slaves, mistreated them, and killed them. Verse 7The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Verse 8Then he said to his slaves, 'The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Verse 9Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.' Verse 10Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests. Verse 11"But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, Verse 12and he said to him, 'Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?' And he was speechless. Verse 13Then the king said to the attendants, 'Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' Verse 14For many are called, but few are chosen."
A wedding banquet is all about rejoicing, and this is a royal one, no less! What a joyful image Jesus chose to describe life with God. It’s hard to imagine anyone turning down such an invitation, but these invited guests are too wrapped up in their day-to-day concerns. The cares of life can be consuming—for us too. How often do we “pay no attention” to God’s invitation?
But this host won’t give up. The second round of guests includes “the bad as well as the good.” So what makes them worthy? They seem to be set apart by the simple fact that they show up. Maybe Jesus could have added a beatitude: “Blessed are the ones who set aside their business-as-usual to come and feast with their Lord. They will know the joy of life with God.”
After all, where else can we get the strength for all that business-as-usual, if not at the banquet of our King? Where else could we possibly be fed and nourished for the kingdom?
Holy God, you invite us to feast joyfully in your kingdom. Keep our hearts attentive to your invitation, and help us to entrust our daily concerns to you, knowing that all things are held in your care; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.