Gospel for Sunday, October 10: Matthew 22: 1-14
XXVIII SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
1Jesus spoke to them again in parables and said: 2“The kingdom of heaven is like a king, who gave a wedding feast for his son. 3He sent his servants to call the guests to the wedding, but they did not want to come. 4He again sent other servants with this order: “Tell the guests: Behold, I have prepared my lunch; my oxen and fattened animals are already killed and everything is ready; come to the wedding!”. 5But they didn’t care and went some to their own fields, some to their own business; 6others then took his servants, insulted them and killed them. 7Then the king was indignant: he sent his troops, had those murderers killed and set their city on fire. 8Then he said to his servants, “The wedding feast is ready, but the guests were not worthy; 9go now to the crossroads and everyone you find, call them to the wedding.” 10Having gone out into the streets, those servants gathered together all those they found, bad and good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. 11The king entered to see the guests and there he saw a man who was not wearing his wedding dress. 12He said to him, “Friend, how come you came in here without your wedding dress?” He fell silent. 13Then the king ordered the servants: “Bind him hand and foot and throw him outside into the darkness; there there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 14For many are called, but few are chosen.”
Mt 22: 1-14
Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Misericordie, I am Carlo Miglietta, doctor, biblical scholar, layman, husband, father and grandfather (www.buonabibbiaatutti.it).
Also today I share with you a short meditation thought on the Gospel, with special reference to the theme of mercy.
The parable of the wedding feast (22.1-14)
The discrepancy between Matthew (Mt 22,1.14) and Luke (Luke 14,16-24) in this parable is so great that we are led to conclude that Matthew has largely reworked the Luke story. Instead of a dinner, Matthew has a royal wedding party: the protagonist is “a king” (Mt 22.2) and not “a man” (Lk 14.16); in addition to the excuses given by the guests in Luke, Matthew inserts the variant of the killing of the messengers and the ensuing war (“The king sent his troops, killed those murderers and burned their city”). This detail most likely represents the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD. C.
This third parable of this Matthean section (the first, that of the two sons; 21.28-32; the second, that of the murderous winegrowers: 21.33-46) also moves in the same direction as the previous one.
There are two scenes that compose it. The first represents a wedding banquet for the king’s son (transparent reference to the coming of Christ). Let us remember that already in the Old Testament the alliance with God was depicted by wedding images, and Isaiah (25.6) presented the perfect messianic era under the symbol of a banquet. The response to the divine invitation to participate in the banquet is harsh and negative, to the point that even the servants who communicate the invitation, i.e. the prophets, are attacked (as had already happened in the previous parable of the vinedressers). The king, in response, sets their city on fire.
It is the paradoxical Semitic style that does not express the idea of a ferocious and vengeful God, but only that, if we reject the proposal of God’s love, our life will be marked by pain and death. Only God is our happiness and, as Saint Augustine said, “no one makes us happy like God”.
In the second scene the king proceeds to make new invitations: everyone, good and bad, are summoned to the wedding, it is now open to all peoples. However, even for them the need for authentic and total adhesion (represented by the symbol of the changing of clothes) applies, that is, of one’s own interior reality, according to the biblical value of this image: the works of justice must accompany faith (see Mt 3.8; 5.20; 7.21ff; 13.47ff; 21.28ff). Having entered the room is not yet a guarantee: you need to be in order, converted, vigilant. The wedding dress means all this. The constant, humble, affectionate industriousness of many Brothers and Sisters in the Mercies is truly the “white garment” that admits us to the Joy of the Kingdom.
Happy Mercy to all!
Anyone who would like to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some insights, please ask me at firstname.lastname@example.org.