The Story of the Wedding Banquet
Jesus responded by telling still more stories. “God’s kingdom,” he said, “is like a king who threw a wedding banquet for his son. He sent out servants to call in all the invited guests. And they wouldn’t come!
“He sent out another round of servants, instructing them to tell the guests, ‘Look, everything is on the table, the prime rib is ready for carving. Come to the feast!’
“They only shrugged their shoulders and went off, one to weed his garden, another to work in his shop. The rest, with nothing better to do, beat up the messengers and then killed them. The king was outraged and sent his soldiers to destroy those thugs and level their city.
“Then he told his servants, ‘We have a wedding banquet all prepared but no guests. The ones I invited weren’t up to it. Go out into the busiest intersections in town and invite anyone you find to the banquet.’ The servants went out on the streets and rounded up everyone they laid eyes on, good and bad, regardless. And so the banquet was on—every place filled.
“When the king entered and looked over the scene, he spotted a man who wasn’t properly dressed. He said to him, ‘Friend, how dare you come in here looking like that!’ The man was speechless. Then the king told his servants, ‘Get him out of here—fast. Tie him up and ship him to hell. And make sure he doesn’t get back in.’
“That’s what I mean when I say, ‘Many get invited; only a few make it.’”
A wedding in the family is a pretty important event, and we all hope our relatives and friends see it that way too, and will come and celebrate with us. My daughter got married a couple of months ago, and I know how hurt she and her husband would have been if the guests they invited just hadn’t bothered turning up, because it’s not about going to a party: it’s about whether or not you care about the people who invited you.
In this parable, the guest list at first was limited to certain people, but when they let the king down, he opened it up to everyone. God our father sent Jesus to live among us and show us the way to eternal life in his Kingdom, because the invitations he’d been sending through the prophets weren’t getting enough RSVPs! God’s invitation was being ignored, and that’s a rejection of the person who sent it.
Jesus is telling this parable to the chief priests and the scribes - the very people who considered themselves very religious and correct, yet they had rejected his invitation and rejected him, refusing to believe he was the Son of God and criticising everything he did. When they didn’t want to know, Jesus took his invitation to everyone else, including people with a bad reputation, poor people, foreigners – everyone who would have felt quite left out by a lot of the community.
But we don’t have a happy ending, with everyone who has an invite getting in and having a great time! It’s not just about accepting the invitation and turning up – we have to take it seriously, treat it with respect and be properly prepared. God, our Father, through Jesus, has called every single one of us. His invitation is there for us to accept, but that’s still not enough.
We can’t just call ourselves Christians and think we’re sorted. We have to live our lives the way Jesus showed us.
Salesian Communications Worker
God our Father,
Help us to hear your call.
Guide our steps in this life
to live as Jesus taught us,
so we are prepared for eternal life
in the Kingdom of Heaven.