A king has prepared a wedding feast for his son. Everything was prepared in the best possible way. One thing was missing: the guests. The first group of guests did not want to go, they made up all sort of excuse for not attending. However, the king wanted to celebrate this big day, so he sent his servants to invite anyone they met. Many accepted the invitation, and the wedding feast could take place. The king was well satisfied. However, while going around, he noticed one among the guests who was not wearing the proper clothes and the king was angry. At that time, it was customary to have clothes prepared for the guests, so when they arrived, they could change into festive clothing. This was the reason for the king’s anger, because although this man had accepted his invitation, he defied him by not wearing the prepared clothing. This man showed great disrespect to the king and his son.
Our first thoughts may be: ‘how stupid of them, I’d accept the invitation in a jiffy!’ Yet, as things stand, we too have received this invitation. With which group of guests do we identify? The wedding feast is the eternal life to which everyone is invited. There are some who will not accept this invitation, others will, yet will do nothing to receive this gift, like the man who refused to wear the festive clothing. Many others accept the invitation and do their best to prepare themselves and be worthy guests of this feast. The wedding guests were all free to accept or not the invitation. God too, gives us freedom to choose. However, our choice will carry consequences. The man who chose not to wear the proper attire was sent outside. What are these clothes mentioned in the parable? The sacraments are part of this clothing. In Baptism we ‘put on Christ’. Putting on Christ, means that we model our lives on his. God knows that although we desire to follow him and do his will, at times we fall short. The sacrament of reconciliation however helps us to return on the right track. Our clothing gets dirty with our sin, but it is cleaned through our confession. The Eucharist is the food prepared for the feast. It gives us the strength to follow Jesus, so that our clothing remains beautifully clean.
Many invitations that we received have the initials RSVP, répondez s’il vous plaît, meaning that the person who sent the invite would like to know if we are accepting to attend or not. Through Baptism, we become members of God’s family, part of the Christian family. This is our invitation, and it too carries an RSVP. It is an invitation that we receive every day, and the way we live is our reply to this invite. Saying that we believe in God, is not enough. Our way of life must reflect that we are truly members of God’s family. This parable shows that God does not want us to be joyful only in eternal life. God’s wedding feast actually starts even during our earthly life! It is never too late to accept his invitation. A wedding feast means joy. Pope Francis has just published an encyclical Fratelli Tutti (All brothers) where he speaks of how living together as brothers and sisters brings great joy to our lives.