In the Gospel, Matthew 22:1-14, Jesus uses a parable, a story about a King’s invitation to his son’s wedding feast, to teach us about God’s invitation to us and His heavenly feast.
When people create a guest list for a very special event, such as a wedding, they first think of their closest friends, relatives and others that they hold in high esteem; it is an honour and a compliment to be invited to such a special intimate occasion. The invitation requires a response so that the planning can proceed to accommodate the number of guests who plan to attend. It is rude not to reply at all. It is disrespectful to make up excuses which are often trivial or insulting.
When we have a high regard for the host and invitation, we do not respond by excuses such as “let me check my calendar or I’m busy”. This certainly shows a lack of gratitude for the invitation and does not show appreciation for the honor bestowed.
In the parable, the king sends out invitations to many guests, symbolizing God’s invitation to humanity to be part of His kingdom. Similarly, today, people receive various opportunities and invitations to lead a life of purpose and spirituality; yet many reject or ignore these calls. What an honour it is to be invited. What are some invitations I have received to enter the heavenly feast? How have I responded?
The guests in the parable prioritize their own concerns over the king’s invitation. This mirrors the way some people today prioritize materialism, personal ambitions, or worldly distractions over spiritual or moral values. What are my distractions? What are some ‘priorities’ that prevent me from accepting the invitation from God? Am I too busy?
The parable also highlights the consequences of one’s choices. Those who rejected the invitation faced dire consequences. In contemporary society, choices have consequences, both personally and spiritually. The moral choices we make can impact our lives here on earth and in the afterlife. Do my words and deeds reflect my beliefs?
The king eventually invites anyone he can find, emphasizing the message of universality and the truth that God’s grace is available to all, regardless of their backgrounds or status. We are invited to build the kingdom of God on earth. This inclusivity is pertinent in today’s diverse and often divided society, emphasizing the importance of unity and acceptance.
The parable also warns about being prepared for the call. In today’s society, it’s crucial to be prepared for opportunities, challenges, and, on a spiritual level, to be prepared for life’s uncertainties and the afterlife. There is a sense of urgency to accept the call and to live in preparation for the kingdom of God on earth. Will I be ready to attend the heavenly feast? “Many are called but few are chosen” seems a harsh statement and very serious. Will I be among the chosen?
Matthew 22:1-14 reminds us that the choices we make and how we respond to the call to a life of meaning and faith have consequences. It encourages us to prioritize spiritual and moral values and to embrace inclusivity in a world that often struggles with division and exclusion. We are reminded that we are invited to join God’s plan for salvation in union with our brother, Jesus and the support and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.