This Gospel has always been a bit difficult for me because of the exclusionary tone of its last line. Somehow, it just does not fit the Jesus I see so often lifting up the dregs of society—the lepers, the sinners, tax collectors, the lame, and, yes, even the Samaritan—to touch them with love, open their hearts and validate the hidden goodness within. These are the very persons the king invites to his son’s wedding feast in today’s parable so why is the one guy singled out simply because he does not have on the proper garment?
The Ignatius Study Bible, in its commentaries, explains the parable of the Marriage Feast as an allegory of salvation history, which culminates with Jesus. We should recognize the King as the Father, the son is Jesus and the servants are the Old Testament prophets who constantly and repeatedly called the “chosen people” to the celebration. Those OT prophets were often ignored, beaten or killed. God promised to destroy their city—Jerusalem was destroyed in 72AD—and send new servants/prophets; He sent the Apostles.
The marriage or wedding feast is a allegory that Jesus often employs in His teachings, especially those about the Kingdom. These feasts were lengthy celebrations that would put our current reception/parties to shame and the joy they celebrated was not only material, but spiritual as well. It was not by accident or coincidence that Jesus’ first miracle took place at a wedding feast.
Marriage has always been important to God. It was the first gift given to Adam and Eve and the first commandment was to “be fruitful and multiply.” The union of a woman and a man is an icon of the perpetuity, faithfulness and intimacy of the Holy Trinity, where True Love binds all of those aspects together. It is also a representation of the Kingdom where those who “are chosen” will enjoy intimate union with God for all eternity. This is well worth describing allegorically with the joy of a marriage feast, but what about that one guy who is thrown out for lack of the right garment?
When we were Baptized we “put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27). We can wear that garment well by our lives of Grace or we can throw it off and reject Christ. It’s our choice.