The Gospel reading today is from Matthew Chapter 22:1-14 Jesus tells a parable about a king preparing a wedding feast for his son. He invites many guests who do not turn up, so eventually, he invites all the people his servants can find in the streets until the wedding hall is full of guests.
Read the story in the Bible. It is not very long.
What Jesus is teaching here is that we are all invited to Heaven. God's invitation is for everyone.
But many don't answer the call. Some even respond violently to the invitation by beating and killing the messengers. Just like we did when we beat and killed the prophets, and just as we still do now in many countries; persecuting and killing people for their religion. Here in the UK we use more subtle methods by mocking and ridiculing anyone who is a Christian. Often you see on TV and hear on radio snide remarks about God and Christianity. Remarks like, "I'm an atheist myself. I don't understand people who still believe in a bearded old man sitting on a cloud looking after us!"
If a politician here stood on a Christian ticket he would not last long. Celebrities who have declared they are Christian are often ridiculed.
the end of this parable there's an intriguing bit. The King enters the
hall full of guests and sees a man not wearing wedding clothes. He is angry with him
and gets him tied up and thrown out into the street.
Now this seems rather harsh treatment for someone not wearing the right clothes. Until we stop and understand Jewish tradition.
Jesus was talking to the Jews who understood very well that there are special clothes to wear at weddings. Almost every family had such special clothes in case they were invited to a wedding; even the poor would either have such clothes or borrow some.
No one would dare go to a wedding without special clothes. Even more important, traditionally the host of the wedding also provided special garments for those who did not have any, so they can borrow them for the occasion. So it was more offensive to the King for this guest to wear no garment.
Who does this guest represent? It is all those so-called Christians who pretend they are believers, who believe and hope they will go to Heaven; yet their lifestyles and behaviour is far from what you would expect from Christianity.
Note the distinction between those invited guests who
refused to attend and the one with no special clothing. Those who refused to accept God did it knowingly and openly. The guest with the wrong clothes represents those who half-heartedly
accept God as an insurance policy ... just in case ... believers in name only.
But how about us? It is just not enough spending a lifetime on our knees praying, or going to church, if our deeds are far from what is expected of us as followers of Christ.
Jesus said, "Not everyone who calls me Lord will enter the Kingdom of God, but only those who do what my Father wants them to do". (Matthew 7:21).