Is 25:6-10A; Ps 23:1-3A;3B-4,5,6; Phil 4:12-14, 19-20; Matt 22:1-14
We might call it overreaction—both the King’s disappointment to his royal invitation and the recipients’ blasé response to this royal invitation, White House dinner or Papal Audience. It’s exaggerated to make us sit up and take notice. That’s what a parable does.
The King has gone to great expense. He wants so much for us to attend. Who can say no? So how are we going to prepare for the banquet? We are all invited. The banquet we can understand in two ways. The banquet is certainly the Eucharistic banquet before our eyes here on the altar and everything we do as a community here. It lasts little more than an hour. It is also a foretaste and preview of the celestial banquet that we hope to enjoy eternally with the Communion of Saints, the whole household of God.
The Church is preparing us for the end times just as we are approaching the end of the liturgical year five weeks from now with the Solemnity of Christ the King.
So, again: How do we prepare to meet this King both here in this sacred hour and in eternity? Jesus is suggesting that God expects acceptance of the invitation and preparation for coming. It is perhaps the most important meeting of our salvation history. The King’s great preparation for this wedding banquet and his disappointment tells us something about God’s expectations for this meeting, both the daily meeting and eternal meeting. It tells us that He desires our presence and that He eagerly awaits our coming. It also tells us that Jesus this encounter is not a “come as you are.” There is some spiritual work prerequired.
The Gospel begs the question: Are we making careful preparation? Are we making the King’s banquet a priority or do other things get in the way? Do other things come first? Are we telling God that He can wait until later? Or do we see what we do here each Sunday as part of a careful preparation? Certainly, the sacrament of reconciliation is preparation as are fasting, acts of service and almsgiving. These are preparation for receiving the Eucharist, which is both the banquet itself and a foretaste of the eternal banquet. We could also make “visits” to the Blessed Sacrament in the chapel now available 24/7.The parable suggests that our preparation must be intentional rather than habitual. It can’t be “ho-hum, I’m too busy.” Our very lives depend on it. We know not the time or the hour when the King will call the celestial banquet. Is our wedding garment ready? And by the way, where are your dancing shoes?