22.1 Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. 4 Again he sent other slaves, saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.’ 5 But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, 6 while the rest seized his slaves, mistreated them, and killed them. 7 The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. 8 Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’ 10 Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.
- The original guests represent the Jewish authorities who have refused to accept the invitation of the king, God, to attend the wedding banquet of the king’s son, Jesus.
- The authorities have not heeded the words of the king’s slaves, the Hebrew prophets and the early Christian missionaries, who have proclaimed that the promised banquet of the kingdom has begun in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
- Since we know that Matthew’s gospel came into being after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 ce, Matthew uses this historical event as a sign of God’s judgement on the Jewish authorities, past and present, for their failure to accept the good news of God in Jesus.
- How shall we hear the message of the banquet of the age to come?
- How shall we embody the ‘kingdom’ values that are expected of those who have accepted the invitation to sit around the table of the eucharist, the foretaste of the heavenly banquet?
- When we imagine God’s future, what does it look like?