The parable of the wedding feast in Matthew’s Gospel (Matt 22:1-14) used to trip me up when I would hear it. After all the originally invited guests decline their invitations, the servants are sent out “into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.” Yet the host ends up tossing out one guest for not wearing the appropriate attire.
My logical brain used to think the host was acting unfairly. If the people who were invited to come were asked on the spot to come immediately, since the feast was ready, how could the guest be dressed appropriately? The answer was so obvious and stared at me from the text. In a way, it’s like a simple math problem. There were many guests invited at short notice, yet only one was singled out for not wearing the correct clothing. If that wasn’t enough, the big hint is that the person is speechless when asked about his costume. He didn’t say that he didn’t have the clothes, or didn’t have time to change, but rather allowed his silence to condemn him. The only way one could be singled out would be if that person chose not to change his attire. It must have been that the servants not only invited those from the main roads, but provided them the means and opportunity to change.
Since the feast is a metaphor for the kingdom of heaven, we have to understand that nothing in our closets will be sufficient for such an event. In fact no material item will be available to us there. It is our souls that will be dressed in the thoughts, words, and deeds of our lives. Every single one will appear as either dark, dirty stains or bright, dazzling colors. How many thoughts do you have in a day? Do you pay attention to how they move you closer to God or turn you inward to selfishness? Just that thought alone is overwhelming! Yet we should not lose hope, for just as in the parable, God is forever giving us an opportunity to change. What it all hinges on, is our willingness to change. You may say this is just the way I am, I don’t need to change. But that is an excuse to have your own way. Maybe you say that change is too hard; and indeed it is! But if you’re trying to do it all by yourself, it only makes it harder. You need to reach out to One for whom all things are possible. Maybe you think that God should accept you as you are. God does love you here and now, but He doesn’t want you to settle for something less than perfection. He gives us His servants, the angels to guide our way. He gives us the tools and opportunities we need to better ourselves, to be able to put on those wedding garments and be properly dressed in heaven.
God invites us to come to His lavish and extravagant feast. He asks us to come and be remade into the image of His dearly beloved Son, Jesus. He sends His angels to meet us and provides the clothes we are to wear. Will you accept His invitation? Will you choose to change your garments and dress in a kaleidoscope of brilliant colors or will you enter dressed in stained rags?