Friends, today’s Gospel likens the kingdom of God to a king who gives a wedding feast for his son. The biblical authors couldn’t find a more apt metaphor for the coming together of divinity and humanity than a wedding banquet. God and humanity are married, and they are surrounded by joy, peace, celebration, and good food.
What was Jesus’ strategy? Open table-fellowship; outreach to all, to the righteous and the unrighteous, to the healthy and the sick, to the mainstream and the marginalized. Here comes everybody. You don’t have to be good to receive God’s grace; that’s why they call it “grace.”
But then something puzzling emerges. When the king comes to welcome his guests, he finds someone not properly dressed: “The king said to him, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?’” It was customary at the time (as it still is) for people to come to a wedding dressed up.
The play here is between grace and works. We can refuse the invitation altogether, or we can refuse the transformation that should follow from grace. We have to cooperate with grace, donning the wedding garment of love, forgiveness, peace, and nonviolence.