Weddings are a time of great rejoicing! A man and a woman are called to be one flesh in the Lord Jesus Christ, giving themselves completely to God and one another so that new life may be engendered: a physical life of a child (if it‟s God‟s plan) and the spiritual life of grace.
In today‟s Gospel Jesus Christ relates: “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son.” The solemnity of being invited to this marriage celebration is beyond amazing, especially when one thinks of God as the King of all creation, and his Son being Jesus Christ!
Yet, some people refuse to come to the wedding feast because they do not like the King, his message or his mes-sengers, or they become distracted by their new farm, business or other things, and even attack and kill those who were sent to invite them to the feast. And as the parable relates, there are some who do not dress appropriately for the wedding feast and are thrown out.
“The king said to him, 'My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?‟ But he was re-duced to silence. Then the king said to his attendants, "Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.‟ Many are invited, but few are chosen.” (Mt.22:1-14)
“My friend!” How is it that this one is called his “friend?” Because God has made us a friend by giving us life, and even a family member through our baptism that gives us divine life, and which marks us with an indelible character that makes us belong to Jesus Christ and his Catholic Church. But any friendship that is alive truly needs to be reciprocated, a two way street, and in this case God is the greater friend because he gives us every natural and supernatural blessing to be his servants.
Why does this friend not say anything when asked a question by the king?! The king had already sent troops to destroy the cities that did not respond to his Son‟s wedding feast. And now a friend who comes to the wedding feast doesn‟t say anything? This friend has not thought about the gifts received by the king, and for this reason we come into church dressed with humility and sorrow for our sins, and great rejoicing when we hear that our venial sins are forgiving when the priest says at Mass: “May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to ever-lasting life.” On most Sundays, we, the family of God, then sing the Gloria! This exuberant response manifests that we are dressed inwardly for the wedding feast by the virtue of our Christian religion, the gift of our Catholic faith that allows us to journey to God – the fullness of heaven – our true home with our divine spouse.
This is what a parable is according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), paragraph #546: Jesus’ invitation to enter his kingdom comes in the form of parables, a characteristic feature of his teaching. (Mk. 4:33-34) Through his parables he invites people to the feast of the kingdom, but he also asks for a radical choice: to gain the kingdom, one must give everything. (Mt. 13:44-45; 22:1-14) Words are not enough; deeds are required. (Mt. 21:28-32) The parables are like mirrors for man: will he be hard soil or good earth for the word? (Mt. 13:3-9) What use has he made of the talents he has received? (Mt. 25:14-30) Jesus and the presence of the kingdom in this world are secretly at the heart of the parables. One must enter the kingdom, that is, become a disciple of Christ, in order to “know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt. 13:11) For those who stay “outside,” everything remains enigmatic. (Mt. 4:11; cf. Mt 13:1-15)
Further, the CCC states: #549 By freeing some individuals from the earthly evils of hunger, injustice, illness, and death, Jesus performed messianic signs. Nevertheless, he did not come to abolish all evils here below, but to free men from the gravest slavery, sin, which thwarts them in their vocation as God’s sons and causes all forms of human bondage.
#550 The coming of God’s kingdom means the defeat of Satan’s: “If it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” (Mt. 12:16) Jesus’ exorcisms free some individuals from the domination of demons. They anticipate Jesus’ great victory over “the ruler of this world.” (Jn. 12:31) The kingdom of God will be definitively established through Christ’s cross: “God reigned from the wood.”
#551 From the beginning of his public life Jesus chose certain men, twelve in number, to be with him and to participate in his mission. He gives the Twelve a share in his authority and “sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal.” They remain associated for ever with Christ’s kingdom, for through them he directs the Church: As my Father appointed a kingdom for me, so do I appoint for you that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Lk. 22:29-30)
What a great joy and privilege to come to Holy Mass and celebrate God‟s divine union with our soul through, with and in Jesus Christ – especially when we are able to receive Holy Communion – which is a sign that we are in full communion with God‟s Ten Commandments and that we believe all that Jesus Christ has taught us through his divinely instituted Catholic Church.
Peace in Christ,
Fr. Thomas McCabe