I went to a wedding recently where the ceremony took place at the top of a hill and the reception in the barn below. My question upon getting the invitation was: What does one wear to a wedding in a barn? The answer didn’t help much; it was: Anything you want! The only thing that seemed de rigueur was cowboy boots (or a reasonable facsimile).
The gospel for today is the parable about the king who gave a wedding feast for his son – with disastrous consequences. The invitees refused the invitation – some with excuses and others by mistreating and even killing the messengers of the king! So he sent the servants back out to invite others to the feast. This worked pretty well but there was one person who came improperly dressed and was cast out of the event. That last was always the sticking point because if the king decided to invite everyone from “the highways and byways” the assumption on his part that everyone would have a wedding garment seemed unfair. That is the danger of interpreting parables literally.
God is the “king” who invites everyone to the banquet of life. It is up to us to receive and accept the invitation. If I say yes, however, there are some expectations – whether or not I have “cowboy boots.” Moving toward the kingdom of God implies conversion – recognition of what has been offered and offering ourselves in exchange for such an invitation. We needn’t be perfect; all that’s necessary is that we be “on the way” – doing our best to enter into the dance of life that energizes and leads us on toward the celebration that awaits us – where all will be one and all will be fed.