Fr. Kurian KollapallilAfter reading this Sunday’s parable of the wedding feast it came to my mind about the wedding I evaded with few excuses. I had a wedding invitation for the last July 4th. Four months before the wedding they wanted to get the exact number of guests in order to arrange the dinner and wedding party. Nine months ahead they planned for their wedding, invitations were sent in advance, and they had so much planning and arrangements for the various aspects of the wedding such as; church ceremony, location for the dinner, choice of the wedding party, guest lists, table seating, food, flowers, musicians and on and on. Since I got a transfer unexpectedly, I called the mother of the bride and had to enumerate the excuses, which disappointed them very much. I regret missing a great event.

Jesus gives us the picture of a marriage feast arranged for the king’s son. In the parable, the king sends out his servants, referring to the long line of prophets sent to the people of Israel inviting them to love and serve God. But they would not come, says Jesus. The King sends out another batch of servants to tell those who have been invited that he has his banquet all prepared, they have to come to the wedding. They are called upon to respond immediately. They made excuses and some even maltreated the messengers. Finally those who deserved to be the guests lose the opportunity and those who least expected become the guests of the king as they generously accept the invitation.

The King is God Himself, and the marriage is symbolic of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, the union of Christ’s divine and human natures into one Person. The feast is symbolic of Christ’s Church. At first, Christ invites the people of the Old Covenant, the Jews to join this great marriage feast, which is the Church, but they fail to respond. He invites them a second time, and they are too busy with earthly concerns. When Christ persists with His invitations to the Jews, they kill Him; they crucify Him, just as they killed the Old Testament Prophets. Then ordinary people of the “highways,” the Gentiles, are invited, since the wedding feast, the Church, must be filled. But, for this feast we must prepare, we must attire ourselves with the proper garment or we shall be cast out, like the man in the parable, into the outer darkness. This garment is, of course, a spiritual one.

Wearing the wedding garment in the parable symbolizes putting on Christ. “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Galatians 3:27). We have been invited to the grace and riches of Christ our King. Do we reject God’s gracious call? Have we changed for the feast? Or do we try to wear our old clothes and live in the old way. Have we put on the clothing of righteousness that Christ offers to us? Are we prepared to celebrate as God wants?

“We could not love the commandments, if we did not love Him who gave.” St. Francis de sales