As they say, “They come in threes.”
For two Sundays now, Jesus have used parables to preach about God’s Kingdom.
This Sunday, again through another parable (Mt 22:1-10), Jesus draws a likeness between a king who throws a wedding feast and Heaven. He sent out his servants to call the invited guests, but they refused to come. Calmly, he commissioned another servant to persuade the invited guests with this message: The calves and the cattle are killed; all is ready!
Despite the persuasive pitch, some didn’t even bother to pay attention to it; they were just downright busy. Their calendars must have been set for something else.
What is worse is this, pissed off by the insistence of the persevering servants, the other invited guests did not just register their ‘no;’ they even manhandled the hapless servants and even killed them.
Of course, upon learning this, the king was fuming mad. He sent his troops to avenge his servants.
Despite the gloom brought about by the killing, the king was still in a party mode. He then again dispatched his servants to the main roads and invite whomever they find.
The servants did exactly as told. They invited whomever they found, the good ones and even the evil ones. And finally, the hall was filled with guests.
But the mood of the party change when the king meets his guests and finds out one man was not appropriately dress. The king said to him, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?’ But the guest was speechless. Then the king said to his aides, ‘tie him, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’ Many are invited, but few are chosen.”
Talk about a happy feast turned gloomy.
An invitation to Joy
But lest we be cynical about the message of this parable, Jesus is asking us to see and appreciate that the invitation of God is for us to join Him to a feast which is as blissful as a wedding feast. In the context of the Hebrew culture, wedding feasts are so blissful that they are expected to go on for several days.
Hence, His invitation is for us to get rid of people, habits, attachments, which, though bring us superficial satisfaction, but does leave us wanting for more.
Make no mistake about it, heaven is such a place of boundless joy. And this is what God wants to share with us: the joy of encountering Jesus, the ecstasy of just being with the Father.
No time to pray?
This parable also tells us how despite being invited to a banquet, some willfully do not regard God’s invitation. It illustrates that those who had been invited were not able to say yes; not because they were evil through and through, it’s just that, they didn’t have the time: one went to his farm, another to his business.
It indicates how things, which, though may not be bad in themselves detach us from being able to commune with the Father. We have got plenty of excuses here: ‘I am busy.’ ‘No time.’ ‘Let me begin next time.’ How easy it is to be occupied with things of this world that we fail to track the matters which concern heaven!
Jesus tells us that the banquet is ready, and, as such, we ought to leave our worries behind in order to devote our time wholly to Him and with Him.