The 14th Sunday after 


The Parable of 


Wedding Feast 

Mat 22:1-14Matthew 22:1-14

And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, {2}
The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage
for his son, {3} And sent forth his servants to call them that were
bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. {4} Again, he sent forth
other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have
prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things
are ready: come unto the marriage. {5} But they made light of it, and
went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: {6} And
the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew
them. {7} But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent
forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their
city. {8} Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they
which were bidden were not worthy. {9} Go ye therefore into the
highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. {10} So
those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as
many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished
with guests. {11} And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw
there a man which had not on a wedding garment: {12} And he saith unto
him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And
he was speechless. {13} Then said the king to the servants, Bind him
hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness;
there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. {14} For many are called,
but few are chosen.


In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. 

Today is a day of great joy for us because of the baptism of Catherine. 
It's also the 14th Sunday after Pentecost and the Nativity of the Most
Holy Theotokos and also the Sunday before the Elevation of the Holy
Cross.  Therefore we have three Gospel readings today which is so not
ordinary.  Usually we have only two or even only one.  Now these
readings are linked together by a thread. The reading for the Cross is
that famous verse we hear "For God so loved the world that He gave His
Only-Begotten Son, that whosoever should believe in Him should not
perish but have eternal life." 

Now what is this eternal life? It is described a little bit more in a
veiled way in the reading for the Theotokos.  This is the typical
reading that we read for the Mother of God and it's sort of a play on
words because Mary, the sister of Martha was not the Theotokos, but
shared the same name.  And so there is this passage where Mary and
Martha are with Jesus and there is a meal being served and Martha is
cumbered about with serving but Mary sits at his feet and has chosen the
better part.  And then the Gospel goes a few more verses, thirty or so:
"And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the
company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that
bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked."

And Christ says, "-Yes indeed, blessed are they that hear the word of
God, and keep it." This is something else to describe eternal life
because when we learn of Christ, we must live according to what we learn
and then we will have blessedness.  'Blessed' can be translated 'happy'.
 The word, "makari", just means happiness.  But it is the fullness of
happiness only Christ can give.  

Now, He describes the happiness He wants to give in a parable about a
wedding.  Think about what a wedding brings to mind. It is the union of
two, to live together, and care for one-another for the rest of their
days. There is great happiness, great love, great festivity, great
expectations, fatlings killed, and oxen on the table. All partake of a
rich and bountiful feast, because two families are so happy and the
wedding of their daughter and their son. The marriage is an image of the
salvation that God wants to give us and much, much more so.  It is a
mystery, St.  Paul says, we can't even understand.   But marriage is
used to hint at what our salvation will be at the joy of knowing our
Lord.  But there are four things that people did in this parable that
cast them out from the kingdom.  Some were cast out in a way that was
very obvious to them and others just lived a life of purposelessness and
they died.  Let us see about how these people lived and see what is the
proper way to live.  It is all laid out for us in this parable.   

The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage
for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden
to the wedding: and they would not come."

These people are much like those that are by the wayside.  The seed is
scattered over the wayside but the ground is ground down by the pounding
of hooves and of feet and of wagon wheels and the seed cannot take any
root at all and it is swept away by the birds and eaten by the birds and
the fowls of the air.  These are the same people.   They don't care. 
They will not come.  They're indifferent. They would answer the kings
servants:  'I care nothing whatsoever.' They're not going to abuse the
prophets that came to bring the news of our Savior, but instead, they
ignore them.  These servants that called to the wedding feast are none
other than the prophets.  And I tell you even now, the apostles today,
the same servants, are calling to the wedding feast. Most people don-t
listen and do not want to hear much about the Gospel, which tells us in
exactitude HOW we should live, because it never really touches their
soul, which is too full with worldly cares to contain anything else.

Now, He sent forth His servants to call them that were bidden.  Did you
notice there were two callings there?  It's important to understand the
nuances of the Scriptures.  We're called through everything, God has
proclaimed through His prophets, through His apostles, through the
teachings of the Church, we're called through all of these things, all
of these manifestations of Divine Truth.  And we are bidden by our
conscience because our conscience calls us again and again and again. 
Not just being twice called nor thrice, but more than seventy times
seventy called.  Every moment God is speaking to our conscience to call
us.  So He says to His servants, "Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I
have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all
things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and
went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise"

There are the people that are choked by the cares of the world. They
have some interest perhaps, in the God-man Jesus Christ, but not enough
to stay away from their farms, that is, their body, or put another way,
all forms of carnality. These are of course lusts of the flesh, but also
all desires of experiencing the pleasures of this life, without giving a
thought to the One who has made all things possible. Be careful now!
Many of these types of people call themselves Orthodox Christians and
even attend church! Guard yourself, O Christian, to see if you are
merely a hearer of the word, or also a doer!

So then He sends more servants and a remnant of His servants are killed
and indeed, the prophets were killed by the Jews.  And even today, I
tell you, there have been apostles, that is, bishops, that have been
killed, and deacons, and priests and confessors of all kinds that have
been killed for their faith.  And they were spitefully treated and
killed.  So the King sent forth His army and He uprooted these people
and slew them all.  All three of these people did not inherit the
kingdom, some because they didn't even care, some because they cared
more for their own pleasures, their own ego, their own acquisitions,
their own greed, and others were actually evil in a vicious and active
way, and killed the prophets.

So the King wishes to have His feast hall filled.  So He says to His
servants, "The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not
worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find,
bid to the marriage." 'Go out into the highways, search out, find anyone
and compel them to come in, compel them because of My great love for
them.  I am going to show them who I Am.' And the person who listens
will be compelled to follow the Gospel.  It is a compelling from within,
brothers and sisters, from within our own soul.  

The man who will be saved has this compelling from within. Those who are
not to be saved wear Christianity as an outward thing. They tell
themselves, and even tell God, ?I will get to working on this sin
eventually¦, or ?I will start getting to church on time someday¦, or ?I
will even begin to attend all the holy services regularly¦, all the
while making foolish excuses for themselves. They fool themselves saying
? I have so much trouble with this, and trouble with that, and God will
understand why I cannot give the rules of piety my full attention¦. You
must search in your heart if you have excuses like this. Are you being
compelled from within? If so, this compelling will obliterate flimsy
excuses. Or is Christianity sort of an intellectual exercise to you? 

So the good and the bad were brought into the kingdom.  The good and the
bad were brought into the wedding hall.  But each person, according to
the eastern custom, had a wedding garment put on them, clean and fresh
wedding garments.  The good and the bad are baptized into the Church and
all are given a wedding garment. Now, the king comes to review his
guests, and he sees a man without a garment, wearing only his regular
street clothes. This man had to come in, and put on a garment, so he
obviously wore it for some period of time. Then he went into some corner
somewhere, behind some plant perhaps, and took off the wedding garment,
discarding it, and still went back to the wedding feast to partake of
all the good things the king had prepared, which are for the elect.
Well, our Lord would not have that, and He went to that servant and
asked him, "Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding
garment? And he was speechless." 

This is the fourth way we lose our soul, by taking the good things God
has given us and not living according to what they are, and not

It is our obligation, I tell you, to live according to who Christ is. 
Knowledge of Christ does not save a man.  Acting upon knowledge of
Christ saves a man.  The devil knows about Christ and hates Him and
fears Him.  You must live according to what you have been taught.  You
must change.  And it is a beautiful thing to change.  It is a blessed
thing to change.  It is the purpose of our life- to change and to become
like Christ.  It is a privilege to do so, to put on the wedding garment,
and to go into the wedding hall and to partake of all the things that we
do not deserve in any way, but God gives to us because of His great
love.  So we must react to this love.  This is the meaning to this
parable.  It has other meanings as well.  It certainly was an admonition
to the Jews, just as the previous parable we discussed from last week
was.  It is the same kind of thing.  But the real inner meaning that we
must understand, and that Christ was trying to put across to His hearers
and to all of us is that we must live according to who God is.  

Now I know most of you, and I say with certainly, that you are not the
ground by the wayside, because I know you, as my spiritual children, and
I know that you have a desire to save your souls.  So you are passed
that first tier.  Don't let worldly cares choke you and don't let
desires of the flesh choke you.  Don't let things that are outside of
God's will drag you down.  Don't exchange your wedding garment for
street clothes.  Live according to who God is.  This is the desire God
has for you.  

May God help you to fully realize the wedding feast and to keep your
wedding garment unsullied and unspoiled.  Amen.                        


This and other Orthodox materials are available in booklet and
electronic form from: 

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, Dallas, Texas

Mailing Address	2102 Summit, McKinney TX 75070

Rectory Phone	972/529-2754



This particular text may be found at:

All rights reserved. Please use this material in any way that is
edifying to your soul, and copy it for personal use if you so desire. We
ask that you contact St. Nicholas if you wish to distribute it in any
way. We grant permission to post this text, if completely intact only,
including this paragraph and the contact information above, to any
electronic mailing list.

 The following sermon was transcribed from one given Sept 8/21 1997, the
14th  Sunday after Pentecost, and also the  day of the commemoration of
the Nativity of the Theotokos, and the Sunday before the Elevation of
the Holy Cross.

 (Luke 11:27)

 Luke 11:28, translation corrected

 Mat 22:2-3

 Cf. Mat 13:4

 (Mat 18:21-22)  Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall
my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? {22}
Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until
seventy times seven. The number designates an infinite amount of times

 Mat 22:4-5

 Mat 22:8-9

 (Luke 14:23)  And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the
highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be

 Mat 22:12

 The wicked servants in the vineyard - Matthew 21:33-42

The 14th Sunday after Pentecost 

The 12th  Sunday after Pentecost

The Parable of the Wedding Feast 

Page   PAGE  9  of   NUMPAGES  9