In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus tells a parable about a feast that a king gave for his son’s wedding. People are invited, but they refuse to come. When the king sends out other servants, some do violence to the servants that are sent. In frustration, the king tells his servants to go everywhere and bring whomever they can find. And so now, the hall is finally filled. But when the king comes in, he notices that there is a person who is not dressed for the occasion, and after some questioning, the person is thrown out into the darkness. Jesus ends His parable saying, "Many are invited, but few are chosen."
Most times when I have read this parable, I have found myself feeling sorry for the one who was not dressed properly. Why should he get kicked out for not wearing the proper attire? Then I remember that Jesus’ parables are often not about what they appear to be about. This is not a parable on fashion, or even on what people should wear to Mass. It’s about our response to the invitation.
We have been invited to the banquet! We have been invited to the feast prepared for us in heaven! In our case, Jesus offered Himself in sacrifice so that we might be invited! If we take the invitation seriously, then our lives are not to continue as before; our lives need to change, just as that wedding guest in the parable was to change into the proper garments for a banquet.
I think we can sometimes forget how remarkable it is to get an invitation. We are sinners, and yet we have grace and love showered upon us all the time by God! God gives us chance after chance to come closer to Him, and follow His will. God continues to work in our lives, even when we cannot feel His presence. Thanks be to God!
We’ve been invited. May we take the risk, and have God change our lives. May we take the risk, and share the invitation; and may we all one day be at the banquet prepared for us!
Fr. Phil Paxton, C.P. is the director of St. Paul of the Cross Retreat and Conference Center, Detroit, Michigan.