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In the Gospel that we have just read, the Lord Jesus Christ teaches that youhe Kkingdom of Hheaven is like a certain king, who made a marriage for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding, and they would not come (Mt. 22:2-3). What inattention, what pride, what ingratitude, what audacity!
But what patience and what long-suffering on the part of the king! He sent yet other servants, saying: Say unto them that are invited: Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fat animals are killed, and everything is ready: come to the wedding (Mt. 22:4).
And how did those who were invited respond to this new invitation from their good king? Butsays the Gospel, they made fun of it and went away, one to his farm, the other to his merchandise. And the remnant took their servants, entreated them wickedly, and slew them (Mt. 22:5-6).
But now listen to what the king has done with these insolent and ungrateful people. Hearing of such impudence on the part of those who were invited to the wedding, he was angry, and he sent his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his servants: The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Go on the roads, and as many as you find, offer yourself in marriage. These servants therefore went out on the roads, and gathered together all whom they found, bad and good, and the wedding feast was entertained with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, Friend, how did you come hither without a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, Bind his hands and feet, and carry him away, and cast him into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen (Mt. 22:7-14).
Here ends today’s Gospel reading. This story is called a parable, that is, a picture, or a mystery, so to speak. We have to understand its meaning.
Who is this king who prepared a The Parable of the Wedding FeastThe Pharisees constantly said that the Jews are God’s chosen people and that the coming Kingdom of God is for them alone. The people had become so accustomed to this prejudice that it was offensive to them to hear in the parable of the workers in the vineyard…
“>wedding party for her son? It is God the Father, Creator of heaven and earth and King of all creation. Who is the king’s son? He is the only begotten Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ; and His bride is the Church – first, the Jewish people, chosen by God, and second, the soul of every believing Christian. Christ loved the Church, it is said, and gave himself for it (Eph. 5:25). The apostle Paul says: I betrothed you to one husband only, in order to present you to Christ as a chaste virgin (2 Cor. 11:2).
The wedding feast signifies the Kingdom of Heaven, where true believers are forever united with the Lord Jesus. The Jews were first invited to this wedding, in the Kingdom of Heaven, through the Prophets and Apostles, but they refused the invitation. Moreover, they even abused the messengers of God and killed many of them. In response, God later annihilated the Jewish people with the weapons of the Romans and destroyed their city and temple.
Instead of the Jews, God called Gentile peoples into marriage, into His Church, through the Apostles and Equals-to-the-Apostles, including us Russians. But the Christians who were pagans and the Christian families that followed them will not all enter the Kingdom of Christ either. Those who do not maintain the purity of the wedding garment shining with innocence and holiness which they received at their baptism, or who, after having soiled it with sins, have not purified it with tears of repent, will be cast into outer darkness at the Last Judgment, where there will be eternal weeping and gnashing of teeth.
This is the interpretation of the given parable! But there could be another interpretation, similar, just as true, and with an application closer to us, brothers and sisters. The marriage feast in today’s Gospel is the Divine Liturgy, during which the faithful are offered not a killed calf, but the You will be led to the wedding feast of the LambThe future coming of our Lord and Savior has become a topic that no one wants to talk about, and if anyone started talking about it somewhere, he would seem like a strange man, engaged in business that does not deserve to be discussed. attention of so many people. -called educated people or businessmen.
“>Lamb of God himself, slain as a sacrifice for the salvation of us sinners, that we might be nourished with his most pure body and blood; so that we may be united to Him in the closest union; so that we may be flesh of his flesh and bone of his bones.
It is the marriage of the king’s son – the union of Christian souls with Christ in the Mystery of Homily on Holy CommunionThere are three necessary conditions that we Christians must fulfill when we receive our Lord Jesus Christ into the Communion of His Holy Mysteries.
“> Communion! It’s party time—participating in His Flesh and Blood! A divine feast, most holy, incorruptible, celestial and deifying!
But how many now hasten to this divine feast? Doesn’t the majority rather avoid attending this celestial supper out of negligence and laziness or for various worldly considerations? For example, because they sold something, or lack of faith and arrogance, or because they overslept, and so on? Who does not see it, does not notice it, does not know it? Such is our lack of faith; such is our spiritual heaviness; such is our penchant for the world; such is our inattention to the greatest mystery of faith, to the mystery of immortality and deification! Such is the vanity and ingratitude of Christians towards the Lord, who offers himself in food and drink for the purpose of purification, sanctification and eternal life!
What are they worthy of? Isn’t this a rejection by God, since they themselves have rejected him almost all their lives? But even those who come to this marriage of the Lamb, to the Divine Liturgy, in remembrance of his life, his preaching, his miracles, his blessings, his sufferings, his death, his burial, his resurrection and his ascension into heaven, or for the communion of his purest Body and Blood – do they come in wedding garments, with pure souls, with pure hearts, with heavenly thoughts, with a holy disposition? Is it not with earthly dreams and passions that many come to church, to this bridal chamber of Jesus Christ, so to speak?
Do we, the celebrants of the terrible, bloodless, Heavenly Sacrifice still come to church and serve in the wedding garment of spiritual purity and impassivity? Alas! Often we come without our wedding garment and without respectful thoughts or intentions in our hearts; often we come in the impure rags of the passions.
Let us all hasten to repent and whiten the garments of our souls with tears of repentance and acts of righteousness, especially through almsgiving, which cleanses our sins.
“I see your ornate nuptial chamber, O my Saviour, and I have no wedding garment to enter into. O Giver of Light, illuminate the garment of my soul and save me. Amen.