Matthew 22:1-14 The Invitation to the Marriage Feast of the King's Son
Today’s Gospel reading is a very sobering reminder of the need to respond to our Lord’s invitation by putting on the wedding garment of the virtues and not ignoring or even hating our Lord’s call to holiness. Many unrighteous people hear about this call to holiness and find fault with our Creator asking, “why did He create people who He knew were going to be damned?” To answer the question, we must recognize that without the possibility of doing evil, man would not be rational. Reason without free choice or self-governance would be pointless. Man could be neither good or evil. So, in demanding that God should not have made those that will be punished, one also is saying that He should not have made those that will be saved or any rational and free beings at all. And since the creation was made for the sake of mankind, they are saying that God should not have created anything at all. What was God to do then? Should He have not made men that would be good on account of those who would turn out evil? St. Gregory Palamas answers, “That would be the greatest injustice imaginable. For even if there were only going to be one good person, it would not have been just to stop creating, since one man who does God’s will is superior to innumerable sinners.” And it is not as if God does not invite all to become holy and provide the loving means to do so for each person. In the parable we hear about a marriage for the King’s Son. This is the union of the Son of God with man’s nature, and hence with the Church. And the Greek uses the plural for nuptials or festivities because whenever Christ, the bridegroom of pure souls, is mystically united with each soul, He gives the Father occasion to rejoice over this as at a wedding. We see in the parable the rejection of the invitation by the Jews and the calling in of the Gentiles. But both good and bad are brought in, and then an inspection is done by the King. Then we hear the haunting words of God, “Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” The evil man is called friend on behalf of his faith, but is condemned on behalf of his sinfulness and lack of virtue and good deeds. The garment we have at inspection will be how we used our time in this life acquiring the virtues of self-control, purity and chastity, compassion, humility, and modesty and meekness. The very hands and feet of the wicked that are now shackled by their sins, will be bound for all eternity and cast into outer darkness, going even further away from God. May we use our feet and hands to do good works and run to the service of God and our fellow man so that at the last judgment we will have put on a beautiful wedding garment and can enjoy the marriage feast of the righteous with our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory and honor, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.