The Father has prepared a wedding banquet with food and drink that satisfies our deepest hunger. The Father begs us to come to the feast. He has prepared the choicest food and has saved the best wine for last. The food at this banquet will never run out and we will never hunger or thirst again. He implores us “come to the feast.”
Many refuse this invitation. Some think it is too good to be true. Still others simply resent the Father and Son – they resent that everyone is called to the feast.
Others don’t even know about the feast. Why would they go to a wedding banquet for someone they don’t know? How can people respond to the invitation if they don’t know what awaits them at the Feast? How will they know it is worth leaving everything behind? This is why the Father sends us, his servants out to invite one and all to the feast. The Father is always calling “come to the feast!”
What is the kingdom of God? Thy will be done. Those that refuse the invitation are those that refuse to do the will of God. “They made light of it” (his will) and went back to their own plans.
What is the real reason that people do not come to the feast? Fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of laying down their own plans, of not being in control, of being dependent on another. If I lay down my plow or leave my business for this wedding feast, what will happen? So, controlled by fear, we refuse the food and drink that truly satisfies. We go back to our work, work that provides finite food that will always leave us hungry.
Finally, at the third beckoning of the Father, we respond to the invitation. He has invited all to come. Who is the bride of his Son? We find to our astonishment that we are. All of those who have refused to come have said no to the proposal of the Son, they have refused to come to their own wedding. We also discover that although everyone is invited, each must be prepared in a special way for the wedding feast. A bride cannot be without her dress.
What is this wedding garment that we must be clothed in? We discover that this wedding banquet is in fact a Passover meal. The lamb has been slaughtered and its blood spread on the lintel of our bodies. The wedding garment is not so much our good deeds or the ways we have striven to be perfect, but the blood of the lamb which covers us, transforming us into Himself. We could never be cleansed or atone for our sins on our own, so our betrothed has stepped in for us, laying down his life so we can enter the heavenly wedding banquet.
Ultimately, how are we called to the wedding banquet? Through the cry of the Son – “I thirst!” His desire for us awakens our hunger for him. What is our deepest hunger? To be loved. Mere bread will not satisfy this hunger, so he gives us his very self for our food, his very blood for our drink – saving the best wine for last.
What keeps you from coming to the Feast here on earth – the Mass? What is keeping you from preparing for the Heavenly Wedding Feast?
~Reflection on Mt 22:1-14 The Parable of the Wedding Banquet~