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Meditate On This... > Trinty 20--SALVATION'S INVITATION

30 Oct 2022

The Gospel. St. Matthew xxii. 1.
Jesus said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, and sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: and the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding-garment: and he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding-garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.  
Image result for banquet pictures clipart
Matthew, Mark and Luke all tell this parable, but each is subtly different. In Matthew’s version it is the king who is giving the banquet for his son. Clearly, this is the Father’s banquet, and the Son is Jesus Christ. The excuses made to avoid going to the banquet reach a terrible conclusion when those invited actually kill the servants of the king! We know that the Gospel was written in the time when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans, and the Jewish people were dispersed throughout the empire. Clearly, the Jews had been the first invited guests, and as Jesus had pointed out, they had been guilty in the past of killing the Father’s servants—the prophets and holy men. God has ever acted to preserve the faithful and separate them from those who have forgotten their commitments to Him. It is important not to forget that all of history’s great political and military forces are ultimately in God’s hands when He chooses. Even the Babylonians who had destroyed Jerusalem long before in Old Testament times had done so because God had deemed it necessary to destroy Judah for its sinful ways. Now, in the time of the Gospels, the Romans had likewise been an instrument in God’s hands and destroyed the Jewish nation and Temple. Jesus, reflecting on the Jews’ general failure to recognize him as the Messiah and Son of God, found a whole new family of believers in the Gentiles. Even the Centurion who had duty at the Crucifixion had become a banquet guest! Of course, the new banquet invitees were both bad and good, but each had an opportunity to recognize this new, joyous commitment to God’s grace. 
But Matthew’s version of the parable doesn’t end there. There was one guest who did not choose to wear the wedding garment provided by the host. This white robe reminds us of the promises made at our baptism.  “Dost thou renounce the devil and all his works, the vain pomp and glory of the world, with all covetous desires of the same, and the sinful desires of the flesh, so that thou wilt not follow, nor be led by them? Dost thou
believe in Jesus the Christ, the Son of the Living God? Dost thou accept him, and desire to follow him as thy Saviour and Lord?” Evidently, this guest had not responded yes to all these questions or had not been living up to what the yes’es really meant. Have we?
We in the Anglican Church Worldwide have received with joy our guest invitations to the King’s feast. This invitation means salvation for us! The king has used the powers in the past to direct the faithful toward the right path to the feast; we can be sure he will give justice today and tomorrow so that all his faithful servants found in the highways will come with joy to the banquet and hold in their hearts sincere thankfulness and commitment to His Son. Let us all carefully judge how we are living our lives and measuring up to our baptism commitments so that we may be properly dressed for the banquet.

Bishop Edwin Tompkins


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