August 18, 2016
Jesus again recited a parable about the Kingdom of heaven.
After all the invited guests refused to come, the king said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.’ 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?’ Mt_22:1-14
Of course the direct analogy is to God’s invitation of the Israelites, from whom Jesus, the “Messiah,” had come. Their refusal to accept Jesus then led to the invitation being extended to all the rest of humanity, whom the Jews called, Gentiles.
And yet, in order to enter the Kingdom, the banquet of heaven, everyone must be ‘cleansed’ and clothed in ‘wedding garments.’ So we might then, see the analogy to baptism, where the baptized repents their sins, are cleansed in the baptismal water, are clothed in a white garment (provided by the Church), and are anointed to receive the Holy Spirit.
If the ‘garment’ was freely offered to all of the guests, (the garment being their repentance, belief in Jesus, and acceptance of His, freely given offer of eternal salvation) and someone had entered in defiant refusal to vest appropriately, then, of course, the Kingdom would be refused to that person as well.
We might even consider the repentance, cleansing and vesting as our period of purgatory after death. Just as some people require shoes to be removed before entrance into their houses, just so, we will not be bringing our sinful baggage into God’s Kingdom either. And even though we may find people we thoroughly disliked in God’s Kingdom after our own deaths, we may be assured that they have been through that same ‘antechamber’ before they ever got there too. And that’s comforting! God invites all. Then it’s our choice.
Blessed be God forever!
ALL are Invited!
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