Fr. Khanh's Page
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The Gospel is an allegory. The king refers to God and the king’s son to Jesus. The banquet symbolizes the Kingdom of God to which different groups of people are invited. In Jewish custom, two sets of invitations are given out: the first, long before the event; the second, right before the gathering. In the Gospel story, the first set of invitees refers to the Israelites, the messengers to the Old Testament prophets. The second set of messengers signifies Christian preachers and teachers, who, in Matthew’s time, are opposed by hostile Jewish authorities and communities. Enraged by the rejection of his invitation, the king sends his troops to burn the city, which is an allusion to the destruction of the city of Jerusalem by the Roman forces in 70 AD.
Exasperated, the king summons his messengers to invite everyone and anyone, good and bad alike, signifying the mission of the Church to invite all peoples to the banquet of the Lord.
Not all elements in an allegory often make sense. At the end of the story, a man not dressed in wedding garments is punished for coming to the banquet not properly dressed are those who heed God’s invitation but do not come with the proper disposition, with hearts converted and purified.
God desires everyone to enter the Kingdom. God goes out of his way to enter into a lasting relationship with each and every one. This means that salvation is not intended for a select few but offered to all. However, just as we cannot force our love on another, God humbly opts not impose his love or salvation on us. Like an expectant lover, God invites us to intimacy with him and to abundant life in the Kingdom, but waits without coercing and yearns without demanding, knowing fully well of the possibility of rejection, of unrequited love. And yet, many people may turn down the Lord’s invitation because of the coercive manner of the messengers or their lack of credibility. How humbling to realize that the Lord opts to rely on often unreliable messengers and witnesses to freely draw people to him. The Lord entrusts his invitation his message, to the Church, the community of disciples called to witness to God’s inclusive love.
Like Jesus, our rejected yet risen King, may we be docile to divine grace expanding our hearts and extending our arms to embrace each and every one. Unlike the man improperly attired, may we gather around the table of the Lord, with hearts purified and lives conformed to his, so that as we are dismissed and sent back to the world, through the joy with which we live out our faith and the love we have for one another, we might draw others to God’s banquet of life.
October is the month of Rosary. I encourage you to pray the Rosary during of October.
Mary Mother of God, Pray for us.
Your servant in Christ,
Father Khanh D. Nguyen, Pastor