God invites us to eternal life, to a glorious celebration in heaven with him, the angels, and the saints. In the Gospel of Matthew chapter 22, Jesus tells us a parable about a king who invited his guests to a wedding feast. This parable, explained Fr. Matthew Spencer on Saint Joseph’s Workshop, describes the invitation to the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.
The first guests in the parable refuse to come to the banquet, so the king extends his invitation to all. “He had everything ready, the whole celebration’s prepared, and since those who were invited aren’t showing up, now he’s going to open it up to the masses—to the people that maybe otherwise wouldn’t be there,” says Fr. Matthew.
“In fact, a whole rag-tag group of people gets invited to that wedding, and by that I’m saying you and me. You and me get invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb. Not because we somehow have earned it or merited it, but because God in his wisdom has extended that invitation to eternal life to all of his created children, to each one of us,” explains Fr. Matthew. “But the parable is about more than just extending that invitation to you and to me. It’s also about the need to remain prepared. Even though we’re invited, we can’t presume upon that.”
“The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to meet the guests he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment. He said to him, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?’ But he was reduced 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.” – Matthew 22: 10-14
Preparing our wedding garment
“Many have been invited to eternal life, but a lot of them have said no. We can look back to the angels that rejected that call to be with God forever, that rejected his plan. And many of them, very sadly, although very intelligent creatures far surpassing our own intelligence couldn’t fathom God’s own plan of salvation and so rejected him and now are in eternal punishment. They were the first to have been invited but then not chosen because of their own decision. But down through the ages the same cycle happens. Many are invited to the wedding feast, many are given a place at the banquet table of the Lord, but like those in the parable, don’t want to have anything to do with it. They’re too busy; they have their own affairs that they’re attending to and they’re not interested in the most important banquet, the most important celebration of all time,” reflected Fr. Matthew.
It goes much further than an RSVP, however. We need to be prepared. “It’s important, though, to notice that just because we’re invited and just because we accept that invitation doesn’t mean that we can presume … upon the graciousness of God. If we’re going to accept that invitation we have to put on the right garment. We have to wash ourselves in the blood of the Lamb. We have to be cleansed by the saving power of Jesus. That’s how we put on the right, appropriate garment; that’s how we become prepared to not only be invited but to be chosen and to remain in that banquet feast,” says Fr. Matthew Spencer.
Bottom line? “It’s a great blessing to have been invited, but now you have to do your part. Trust in God’s grace, turn away from sin, repent of any past sin, and then vest yourself in the garments of the Lamb.”
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