“Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: . . “ (Matthew 22:1)
It is usually by this point in reading the gospel of Matthew that I an totally intrigued by the parables, and feel like I could listen to them / read them for hours. There comes a certain point (for me) that the grace and poetry of the parables becomes a greater joy than the message/meaning/metaphor. But, I realize I must be aware of the teaching points of parables. Listen & read with me as I move through this story.
“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. 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.’ But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his slaves, mistreated them, and killed them.” (Verses 2 – 6)
It was a salient learning point when I realized that the “king” was not the Divine but merely one of the people in the story. So whatever actions the “king” or ruler or leader or whoever is the authority figure in the story is NOT a place holder for the actions of the Divine.
“The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’ 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.” (Verses 7 – 10)
There are people who turn away from the Kingdom of Heaven and say they want no part of it. They have destroyed their chance to be with the Divine for eternity as much as they have destroyed themselves. While still living in this world, they are dead to the world to come. Remember again, the king is not the Divine!
“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?’ And he was speechless. 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.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Verses 11 – 14)
Just because all are welcome into the Kingdom of Heaven does not mean that you can not be prepared to enter. When it comes down to it, it is only through the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ who was sent by the Divine that anyone can enter the Kingdom of Heaven. But do not disrespect the honor! Prepare yourself as much as you are able. Even the most unworthy guest at a wedding knows that you do honor to the occasion when you dress for the part as best you can. Shalom & Selah!