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Our Sunday: God's invitation

Father Josef Buholzer

Mt 22: 1-14

After the parable from last Sunday - of the vineyard owner and the unwilling tenants - Jesus tells us another parable today: that of a wedding feast, a banquet to which a king invites.

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A fairy tale? No; Already with the prophet Isaiah (25: 6-10a) we have a similar parable for the messianic time - for the time of final redemption and fulfillment. It is the image of a great feast on the Lord's mountain to which God invites all people. God is the host. He invites people. So God will be the source of end-time joy and fulfillment.

"A beautiful picture for God, who opens his heart and invites people to take part in the celebration with his son."

Jesus takes this parable and reformulates it. I find it interesting that the gospel now names two main characters: the king and his son. The son is at the center of the wedding feast. The king wants people to take part in this festival and invites them. This will to open the house to everyone and let them take part in the festival of joy is very strong in the parable. This will reaches beyond the palace walls to the neighborhood, to the streets, to the forgotten, the excluded and the poor. - A beautiful image for God who opens his heart and invites people to take part in the celebration with his son. It is not a god who locks himself in and wants to be alone. No! - And that is also the conviction of Christ and corresponds to his experience and mission! - I think this picture is very beautiful. What began and was initiated with the incarnation of the Son and the later sending of the Spirit - where God comes to men - is now to be completed in this union, in this feast - where men come to God, accompanied by the Son and the Spirit . - It is the fulfillment of Jesus' deepest wish: “Father, I want all that you have given me to be with me where I am” (Jn 17:24).

They didn't want to come

The tragic is then the answer to the invitation that the messengers bring to the people: “They did not want to come”. In the parable, the king's invitation is first given to those people who are likely to be close to him and the son: relatives, neighbors and friends. - The invitation is rejected. Once again the king sends his messengers to them: “Everything is ready. The tables are set. Come to the wedding ...! "This invitation ends even more tragically:" But you didn't care, one went into the field, the other into his shop, and still others attacked his servants ... and brought them around".
They do not want to be bothered and go about their everyday work and worries that seem more important to them. - The festival hall is empty. The king cannot be changed; He is now sending his messengers further out, on the paths and streets: "Invite everyone you meet to the wedding!"

Do We Know the Lord's Messengers?

I believe that God's invitation can reach us and all of humanity in different ways and in different situations. Do we all recognize his messengers? Do we know all the streets and paths on which the messengers come to invite people? The invitation reaches us through Jesus; and then through the proclamation of the Church, through the Gospel, through special events that make us sit up and take notice ... The invitation can also reach non-Christian people in other ways that are unknown to us!

"Many will come from the east and from the west ..."

These strangers now respond better to the invitation. They are representatives of the nations to whom the gospel will later be preached. "Many will come from the east and the west and will sit at table with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven ..." (Mth 8:11). Something may surprise us in the text: namely that the king throws out a man who is shabbily dressed for the occasion. Because maybe the man didn't have time to get dressed properly when the invitation reached him ... But the meaning is deeper! Invited by God, not only do we accept the invitation, we also get ready to do so. We dress in a beautiful robe or suit that corresponds to the festival. A piece of clothing made of charity, kindness, faith, honesty ... - that corresponds to what we will encounter.

The deeper meaning of the wedding robe

Some verses in the NT help us to give the wedding robe a deeper meaning - Paul says: "Put on the Lord Jesus Christ" (Rm 13.11 ff .; cf. Gal 3.26). - And then also: "So, as chosen of God, saints and beloved, clothe yourselves with tender mercy, goodness, humility, gentleness, patience!" (Col 3,12 / 14).
I think the theme of the robe / wedding robe now gets a deeper meaning. Called by grace - not by merit or a right to God's Kingdom - we must prepare and tune in to the invitation. Then Heavenly Father will recognize in us traits of His Beloved Son and Spirit that have accompanied us on our journey. Then he will say: Come and enter the wedding feast.
In the book of Revelation (19.7f) the seer has a vision of the fulfillment of this wedding supper - with the Lamb: “We want to rejoice and cheer ... For the wedding of the Lamb has come ... The bride is dressed in radiant pure linen. The linen signifies the righteous deeds of the saints ”. So isn't this bride the church, humanity that set out to celebrate?

"Do I want to become more and more like Christ?"

● Yes, which fashion trend do we follow for our festive garments? Is it just an outward desire to appear well and good? Or do I want to become more and more like Christ? Do I allow myself to be transformed by Christ and the Spirit who accompany me - ... infected?
● How do I experience the Eucharist? Just as a routine, as a mere habit ...? But the Eucharist is a sign of this eschatological meal, this encounter with God. Donated by Jesus, it is, as it were, a STARTER of this eternal feast, which deepens our hunger for this end-time encounter with God and strengthens us on our way ...

(radio vatican - claudia kaminski)