“My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?
In one of His many parables about the Kingdom of God, Jesus tells of a king who invites chosen guests to His Son’s wedding banquet. When those chosen people reject or ignore His invitation, some even killing his messengers, the king became angry, destroyed the murderers, and extended His invitation to others, good and bad, bringing all into the banquet.
This parable echoes the story of God’s invitation to His chosen people through His prophets, many of whom were ignored, rejected, and even killed. Because of the unfaithfulness of those chosen guests, the invitation went out to the whole world. Yet, the guests must show the respect due to the King’s Son: when a man is found to have entered without a wedding garment, he is cast out.
We are those guests, the good and the bad, given the chance of a lifetime to come to the wedding feast of the King’s Son. Can you imagine showing up at such an event covered in mud, without making any attempt to wash up and be presentable? Would any of us even consider going to a friend’s wedding banquet in such a condition? But how often have we entered the Eucharistic feast neglecting to first clothe ourselves in love, charity, kindness, and purity?
Although God’s invitation is offered freely, we have a responsibility to prepare ourselves to enter into the banquet. The Lord provides the wedding garment Himself, clothing us in Christ at the moment of baptism but He gives us the free will to accept or reject that garment. Even when we fall into the mud again and again, He gives us the chance to cleanse that garment throughout our lives in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We are required to respond to the infinite generosity of the King by accepting His invitation and preparing our hearts to be in His presence.
Be prepared for the great event. Don’t miss the chance to enter into the joy of the heavenly wedding feast, clothed in the pure garments of love.