Not wearing a wedding robe.

Matthew 22:1-14

New Revised Standard Version
22:1 Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying:

22:2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son.

22:3 He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come.

22:4 Again he sent other slaves, saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.’

22:5 But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business,

22:6 while the rest seized his slaves, mistreated them, and killed them.

22:7 The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city.

22:8 Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy.

22:9 Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’

22:10 Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.

22:11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe,

22:12 and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?’ And he was speechless.

22:13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”

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2 Responses to “Not wearing a wedding robe.”

  1. Fr Paul Fenech says:

    Jesus was speaking to the chief priests and the pharisees. If the Jews were the first to be invited for the Wedding Feast (“I shall be your God and you shall be my people”), then what an invitation did the chief priests and the pharisees receive? It must have been a VIP treatment. Yet all of them turned down the invitation; they missed the opportunity. Eventually they proved themselves unworthy.

    But were those invited later worthy? They consisted of “good and bad” alike. Surely, the bad were not worthy either. But the “good”? Yes, we imagine that they were worthy! And that miserable guest, who was condened for such a punishment? Was he bad? Jesus does not tell us that. He could have been one of the good ones. He turned out to be unworthy because he was not wearing the wedding garment. What does this wedding garment has to do with worthiness and unworthiness?

    Let me stop for a moment and remember why, for many years I could not understand the shocking reaction of the King to this guest. I listened to the story of this magnificent King, making a great Feast for the wedding of His Son. And what a Feast! A Feast of an uncomparable abundance: “oxen and fat calves”; no number of them mentioned. But imagine how many people you can feed with just one ox! No one of the guests came around, not even to eat without paying anything. Now listen to what I used to hear: the King looks at the banquet and has pitty for all that abundant waste. In fact notice, the second, may be greater number, of guests were not so much invited for the Feast, for the celebration, as for the banquet: to eat, to eat all the food that was prepared, not have any waste of food. Therefore, my feeling has always been that the people who accepted His invitation were in reality doing a favour to the King. And this has been my greatest obstacle to understand the harsh reaction of the King to the guest who was not wearing the wedding garment. If that guest came to make a favour to the King, why was not He appreciative and pretended something from him?

    It took me so long to realise how close I was to the point Jesus was trying to make with this story… and yet so far. Who is doing a favour to whom? Are the guests doing a favour to the King, or vice versa. Are there any guests who merit being invited? Or let me put it more bluntly: are there any guests who have a right to be invited? What type of guests were the chief priests and the pharisees? Jesus was always very angry at them. And they could not understand how Jesus could be coming frm God, when He was so angry at them. They could never imagine God being angry at them. Why should He? On the contrary, He had every reason to be pleased with them: they were His chosen people, and they were dedicating their whole lives at His service! Aha! That’s the trouble with them! The came to think that they have a right for the invitation. They came to get the mentality that they were doinga favour to God. They lost the beauty of being a guest of such a wounderful, loving, and rich in mercy Host! Only One is worthy to wear the wedding garment by right, the garment of bridegroom. All of us should be thankfull for being given in the most gratuitous way the wedding garment of the guest.

    So, what is the wedding garment that the miserable guest lacked? It is the garment of appreciation at the knowledge of the Kings infinite generosity, and at the knowledge of his own unworthiness! What a lesson to the Jews, the chief priests and the pharisees! What a lesson to all those who were born and brought up in the Church, and the “goody” ones, who pretend so much from God, especially that He should be gratefull to them for keeping His standard waving high! What a lesson for us who frequent the Eucharist without wearing the wedding garment, being so alienated from the very fact that the Eucharist is a sacrifice of Thanksgiving.

    • Ghita Debattista says:

      Fr. Paul Fenech,

      Hope this mail finds you in good health and spirit. I read the above reading with much interest, and your explanation was so new to me that I never realised the whole intent of Jesus’s meaning. I used to say, how could this kind and generous king react like this to a man of the street who was not wearing the right garment for the occasion. It did not make any sence to me. Thanks to your explanation I have a better idea now. But I still have a question. Did the crowd to which Jesus preached this, get the real meaning of this parable?

      May God keep on blessing you. Keep up the good work.

      Ghita

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