The wedding feast
1 Jesus went on speaking to them in parables:
2 ¡°This story throws light on the kingdom of heaven. A king celebrated the wedding of his son.
3 He sent his servants to call the invited guests to the wedding feast, but the guests refused to come.
4 Again he sent other servants ordering them to say to the invited guests: ¡®I have prepared a banquet, slaughtered my fattened calves and other animals, and now everything is ready; come then, to the wedding feast.¡¯
5 But they paid no attention and went away, some to their fields, and others to their work.
6 While the rest seized the ser vants of the king, insulted them and killed them.
7 The king became angry. He sent his troops to destroy those murderers and burn their city.
8 Then he said to his servants: ¡®The wedding banquet is prepared, but the invited guests were not worthy.
9 Go, then, to the crossroads and invite everyone you find to the wedding feast.¡¯
10 The servants went out at once into the streets and gathered everyone they found, good and bad alike, so that the hall was filled with guests.
11 The king came in to see those who were at table, and he noticed a man not wearing the festal garment.
12 So he said to him: ¡®Friend, how did you get in without the wedding garment?¡¯ But the man remained silent.
13 So the king said to his servants: ¡®Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the dark where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.¡¯
14 Know that many are called, but few are chosen.¡±
[BOL] Paying taxes to Caesar
15 The Pharisees went out and took counsel on how they could trap Jesus with his own words. 16 They then sent their disciples with the members of Herod¡¯s party for this purpose.
16 They said to Jesus, ¡°Master, we know that you are an honest man and truly teach God¡¯s way; you are not influenced by others nor are you afraid of anyone.
17 Tell us, then, what you think: is it against the Law to pay taxes to Caesar or not?¡±
18 But Jesus understood their evil intent, and said to them, ¡°Hypo crites! Why are you testing me?
19 Show me the coin with which you pay the taxes.¡±
They showed him a denarius,
20 and Jesus said to them, ¡°Whose head is this, and whose name?¡±
21 They answered, ¡°Caesar¡¯s.¡± Then Jesus replied, ¡°Therefore, return to Caesar what is Caesar¡¯s, and to God what is God¡¯s.¡±
22 Astonished by his answer, they left him and went away.
The resurrection of the dead
23 That same day, some of the Saddu cees came to Jesus. Since they claim that there is no resurrection, they questioned him in this way,
24 ¡°Master, Moses said that if anyone dies without any children, his brother must take the wife and have a child who will be considered the child of the deceased man.
25 Now, there were seven brothers. The first married a wife, and he died; since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother.
26 The same thing happened to the second and to the third until the seventh.
27 Then, last of all, the woman also died.
28 Now, in the resurrection of the dead, to which of the seven will she be wife, for all had her as wife?¡±
29 Jesus answered, ¡°You are totally wrong because you understand neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.
30 First of all, in the resurrection of the dead, neither men nor women will marry, but they will be like the angels in heaven.
31 As for the resurrection of the dead, have you never reflected on what God said to you:
32 I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is God, not of the dead but of the living.¡±
33 The people who heard him were astonished at his teaching.
34 When the Pharisees heard how Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they came together.
35 One of them, a teacher of the Law, tried to test him with this question,
36 ¡°Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the Law?¡±
37 Jesus answered, ¡°You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.
38 This is the first and the most important of the commandments.
39 But after this there is another one very similar to it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
40 The whole Law and the Prophets are founded on these two commandments.¡±
The Messiah, Son of God
41 As the Pharisees were gathered there, Jesus asked them,
42 ¡°What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he to be?¡± They answered, ¡°David¡¯s.¡±
43 Jesus then asked, ¡°Why did David, inspired by God, call the Messiah Lord? For he says in a psalm:
44 The Lord said to my Lord: Sit at my right until I put your enemies under your feet.
45 If David calls him Lord, how can he be his son?¡±
46 No one could answer him, not even a word. From that day on, no one dared question him any more.
Comments Mathew, Chapter 22
• 22.1 THE BANQUET
This parable contains two parts.
In the first part, God invites us to a banquet where there is a place for every one. all through history he has been sending his prophets to preach justice, the mercy of God and trust in him. The Jewish nation, however, did not heed God¡¯s call through these prophets and now will pay even less heed to Jesus. God¡¯s plan will not fail. He will send his apostles to preach the Gospel in foreign nations (go to the exits of the ways) so that non-Jews, too, may enter the Church. Some Jews, however, the selected few among so many called, will be the first mem bers of the Church.
The king celebrates the wedding of his son, Christ, who deserves to be called ¡°the bride-groom¡± of humankind (Mk 2:19), because he has become one body with it. All throughout history the Risen Christ gathers together mortal and divided human beings. The Spirit of God will transform and raise them from the dead, so that they may sit at the table of the living, according to the parable.
The only table of Christ that Christians usually know is the Eucharist. While taking part in it, we must not forget what has been said above. Our meeting in the Mass should remind us that God calls us to prepare, in our daily lives, for the banquet reserved by him for all humankind. Ours is the task of uniting and reconciling all people.
What if we do not answer? Then, little by little, the life of the holy and universal Church will be withdrawn from our assemblies of comfortable Christians, and others will be called to take charge of the work of God: invite to the wedding.
The second part of the parable points this out: You, Christians, who are already inside the Church, do you wear the new garment ¨C a life of justice, honesty and trust worthiness?
Let us not believe that the surprised guest who was not properly dressed for the occasion was some kind of poor person. No, for it was customary during those times to supply all guests with the robe they should wear at the banquet. This one could have put on the robe but did not, so he had nothing to answer.
• 14. Many are called (v. 14). Some are disturbed upon reading this: does it mean that only a few persons will be saved?
If we associate this sentence with the first part of the parable, it means that, of those first in vited, few will enter the banquet. These guests were the Jews and very few, indeed, entered the Church of Jesus. In terpreted in connection with the second part of the parable, it would mean that few of those entering the Church have the necessary dispositions, so the majority would be condemned at the time of judgment. This contradicts what was related in the parable, because only one of the guests was thrown out.
It is better not to associate this saying too much with the parable of the banquet, because we find it also in other places in the Gospel. Here Jesus advises us (as in 7:13) that only a few discover through the Gospel true freedom and new life. Then, are they saved? Yes and no ¨C because salvation, for Jesus, does not mean to escape from the punishment of hell, but to reach perfection.
• 15. See the commentary in Mk 12:13.
• 23. See the commentary in Mk 12:18.
In verse 24 the text reads: ¡°take as a wife the sister-in-law and raise a descendant to his brother.¡±