When we read this Gospel passage, and try to imagine the scene Matthew describes, we might try to compare it with the way some people dress when they come to Mass on Sunday. There are indeed poor people who can’t afford the latest designer style clothes, or sometimes even new gear, but we don’t make an issue out of that; because we’re just happy that they’re there with us to worship with us as one family in Christ.
But this parable isn’t really about the “kind” of clothes people are wearing. The “wedding garment” is just a metaphor for something else that’s going on. Our real focus needs to be on two other things: first, the Invitation to the wedding celebration; and second, our Response to that attractive offer.
Jesus wants all people, without exception, to be saved and to share in the glory of God. So, the Invitation goes out – first to some specially “chosen” people, and later to everyone. It’s an offer to believe in Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God; to believe in his Resurrection; and finally, to believe in the Gospel message. Except for a small number, the specially “chosen” people didn’t accept the generous Invitation. So, the Invitation was extended to everyone in the world!
But to receive the Invitation, to believe, doesn’t guarantee entry into the kingdom. This moves our focus to the second point – i.e., preparation is necessary. To pay “lip service” to our faith in Jesus, but not live out his Gospel message, is to miss what Discipleship is all about. There is indeed a demand placed on the followers of Jesus. We’re called to live the moral and ethical values that he embodied in his lifetime and in his teachings. So,” in the parable the “wedding garment refers to true discipleship rather than uncommitted membership.
Words are not enough to gain entry to the kingdom; deeds are also required. In the language of metaphor, Christ is the “bridegroom” and we are the “bride,” united in the Sacrament of Faith: the Sacrament of Baptism.