Homily for the twenty-eighth Sunday of the year - Year A - Mt. 22:1-14
 
 
by
 
Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen
 
 
 
" Jesus spoke to his disciples in parables, saying, «The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a marriage feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the marriage feast; but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, "Tell those who are invited, Behold, I have made ready my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves are killed, and everything is ready; come to the marriage feast." But they made light of it and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, "The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the thoroughfares, and invite to the marriage feast as many as you find." And those servants went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.»
 
" «But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment; and he said to him, "Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?" And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, "Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth." For many are called, but few are chosen.» "
 
 
 
Homily:
 
 
" Jesus spoke to his disciples in parables, saying, «The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a marriage feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the marriage feast; but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, "Tell those who are invited, Behold, I have made ready my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves are killed, and everything is ready; come to the marriage feast." But they made light of it and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them.» "
 
Before going one last time to Jerusalem in order to make an offering of himself to the Father on the wood of the Cross, Jesus travels through Transjordania, close to where he began his ministry. And there he told this parable, a well-known one, about those invited to the marriage feast of the king's son...
 
Why speak of a wedding to evoke the Kingdom of Heaven, and to try to help us understand a little better who is the heavenly Father whom Jesus came to reveal to us? The answer is simple, especially if we take the trouble to read what Jesus said on the subject of those who refused to come to the wedding.
 
In Saint Matthew, Jesus tells us, concerning those who were invited: "But they made light of it and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them." (Mt. 22:5-6) But in Saint Luke, Jesus provides us with more details, quite significant ones: "But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, 'I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it; I pray you, have me excused.' And another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them; I pray you, have me excused.' And another said, 'I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.'" (Lk. 14:18-20)
 
If, in Saint Luke, it is correct to translate the original text as: "I have married a wife", it could also be translated as: "I have taken a wife." (Lk. 14:20) This immediately places us in the context of the wedding of the king's son! Now, the expression: "I have taken a wife", even if it is correct, expresses a view of marriage that goes against that which Jesus, in this parable, wants to communicate to us. In fact, marriage does not consist primarily in taking a wife, but rather in giving ourself to another person with whom we want to share our life, until death.
 
The same is true of the other people who do not want to attend the wedding of the king's son: none of them has any intention of giving themselves, but instead want to hoard one good or another in order to have ever greater riches! They all go against God's plan, which is to give, and above all to give oneself!
 
" «The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, "The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the thoroughfares, and invite to the marriage feast as many as you find." And those servants went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.» "
 
Since the first invitees did not come, the servants of the king go out to the streets and bring back everyone they find. Here, once again, Saint Luke offers us more details: "Then the householder in anger said to his servant, 'Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and maimed and blind and lame.'" (Lk. 14:21)
 
So, the new invitees to wedding of the king's son are people who expect to be given something, or even expect someone to completely give himself to them, so indigent are they... These newly invited guests, poor in all things, stretch out their hand to receive! When God gives, or gives himself, man must be ready to receive, or to receive Him!
 
" «But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment; and he said to him, "Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?" And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, "Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth." For many are called, but few are chosen.» "
 
Saint Luke does not record this last part of the parable told by Jesus. And yet Saint Luke will once again help us to understand this passage from Saint Matthew. Indeed, Saint Luke writes that when Jesus taught for the first time in the synagogue of Nazareth: "All spoke well of him, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth." (Lk. 4:22) This means that Jesus gives his listeners his grace, his love, under the form of words, "gracious words"; and therefore that, in a certain way, grace is a sort of word, given by God, to prepare and allow one to receive his Word, his Son.
 
In Saint Matthew, the man who entered without a wedding garment is incapable of saying anything at all: "And he was speechless." (Mt. 22:12) For if he does not have a wedding garment, this exteriorly shows that he does not have interiorly, in his soul, the grace of God, that divine gift, under the form of a word, destined to help one to enter into communion with the one Word of God and Son of the Father.
 
May the Most Blessed Virgin Mary deign to take us under her protection and to lead us by the hand to the wedding feast of her Son, the Lamb without stain who rules forever and ever! Amen!
 

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