Being Worthy of the King's Invite

    Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Comprehensive Catholic Commentary
Fr. George Leo Haydock
provided by
John Gregory

      Editor's Note: We continue this special feature provided by John Gregory with the Haydock Commentary found at the bottom of each page of the Douay-Rheims Bible. With the type so small in most bibles, we publish it here in larger type in conjunction with the Epistle and Gospel for the Sunday Mass, with the cogent comprehensive Catholic Commentary penned by Father George Leo Haydock. The Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost features the parable of the wedding feast in the Gospel of St. Matthew and Haydock is so rich in this in discerning this magnificent analogy that Christ imparted to the chief priests, scribes and Phariseesis regarding the great banquet that awaited them if they would only abide by the King's request and take seriously His invite. We can see how over the last 2000 years so many have rejected that invitation or accepted it under their conditions, not God's such as by coming dressed in garb not recognizable or trying to replace the spouse, the true holy Catholic Church with a facsimile who, in truth, is a harlot and not worthy of the feast. Though invited, the great majority do not respect the King or they would comply with His request and honor both Him and His Son, not to mention His spouse.

Epistle: Ephesians 4: 23-28

23 And be ye renewed in the spirit of your mind,

24 And put on the new man, who according to God, is created in justice, and holiness of truth.

25 Wherefore, putting away lying, speak ye the truth every man with his neighbor: for we are members one of another.

26 Be angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your anger.

    Commentary on Verse 26 Be angry, and sin not, as it is said Psalm iv. 5. Anger, as a passion of the mind, may proceed from a good motive and be guided by reason; as our Savior, Christ, (Mark iii. 5.) is said to have looked about at the Jews with anger, i.e. with a zeal against their blindness and malice. --- Let not the sun go down upon your anger. If moved to anger, return without delay to a calmness of mind and temper. (Witham) --- Be angry when reason or necessity compels you; but even then, so restrain your anger that you neither offend God nor scandalize your neighbor. Moreover, lay it aside as soon as you are able, so that the sun go not down upon your anger. (Jansenius)

27 Give not place to the devil.

28 And every one of them went straight forward: whither the impulse of the spirit was to go, thither they went: and they turned not when they went.

Gospel: St. Matthew 22: 1-14

1 At that time, Jesus spoke to the chief priests and the Pharisees in parables, saying

    Commentary on Verse 1 Jesus spoke to to the chief priests and the Phariseesn in parables, and concludes his discourse with again describing, 1st. the reprobation of the Jews; 2nd. the calling of the Gentiles to the true faith; and 3d. the final judgment of both the one and the other. In this parable of the marriage feast, says St. John Chrysostom, our Savior again declares to the Jews their reprobation, and the vocation of the Gentiles, their great ingratitude, and his tender solicitude for them. For He did not send them a single invitation only; He repeatedly invited them. Say, says He, to the invited; and afterwards, call the invited; thus evincing the greatness of their obstinacy, in resisting all the calls and pressing invitations of the Almighty. (Hom. lxx.) --- This parable is certainly not the same as that mentioned in St. Luke xiv. 16, as every one that will be at the pains to examine and compare all the circumstances of each, will easily discover, though they are very much alike. (Menochius)
2 The kingdom of Heaven is like to a man being a king, who made a marriage for his son.
    Commentary on Verse 2 Is like to a man being a king, &c. This parable seems different from that of Luke xiv. 16. See St. Augustine, lib. ii. de Cons. Evang. chap. lxx. The main design in this parable, is to shew the Jews that they were all invited to believe in Christ; though so few of them believed. The King is God; His son is Jesus Christ; the spouse is the Church; the marriage is Christ's incarnation; the feast, the grace of God in this life, and his glory in the next. His servants were the prophets; and lastly his precursor, St. John the Baptist. --- My fatlings, which I have prepared, and made fat for the feast: but this is but an ornament of the parable. (Witham) --- The same takes place in the kingdom of Heaven, as when a king makes a marriage feast for his son. Jesus Christ seems to have had two things in view in this parable: 1st. that many are called to the kingdom of Heaven, i.e. His Church, and that few come, as He concludes, ver. 14, many are called, &c; 2nd. that not all that come when called will be saved, i.e. will be reputed worthy of the celestial feast; because some have not on the wedding-garment, as he shews, ver. 11. (Menochius) --- Thus the conduct of God in the formation of his Church, and in the vocation of men to glory which himself has prepared for them in the kingdom of heaven, is like to that of a king, wishing to celebrate the marriage of his son. (Bible de Vence) --- Marriage is here mentioned, says St. Chrysostom to shew there is nothing sorrowful in the kingdom of God, but all full of the greatest spiritual joy. St. John the Baptist likewise calls our Saviour the spouse; and St. Paul says, I have espoused thee to one man, 2 Corinthians xi. (St. John Chrysostom, hom. lxx.) See also Ephesians v. 25. and Apocalypse xxi. 2. and 9. The nuptials in this place do not signify the union of marriage, or the incarnation of Jesus Christ, by which the Church is made His spouse; but the marriage feast, to which men are said to be invited. This is no other than the doctrines, the sacraments and graces, with which God feeds and nourishes our souls, united to Him by faith in this life, and by eternal joy and glory in the next. (Jansenius) --- This union is begun here on earth by faith, is cemented by charity in all such as are united to Christ in the profession of the one true faith he came down to establish, and will be consummated and made perpetual hereafter by the eternal enjoyment of Christ in his heavenly kingdom.
3 And he sent his servants, to call them that were invited to the marriage; and they would not come.
    Commentary on Verse 3 His servants. John the Baptist and Christ Himself, Who took the form of a servant, to call such as had been formerly invited to the nuptials that were to be celebrated in His time. The Jews were invited by Moses and the prophets, and were instructed to believe that the Messias would celebrate this happy feast. On the predetermined day, they were again called by His servants, saying: Do penance; for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand: come to the feast, i.e. become members of His Church, by believing in Christ. (Jansenius) --- In the same manner, St. John Chrysostom says that the Jews had been invited by the voice of the prophets, and afterwards by the Baptist, who declared to all, that Christ should increase, but that he himself should decrease. At length, they were invited by the Son in person, crying aloud to them: come to Me all you that labor, and are heavily laden, and I will refresh you. (Matthew xi. 28.) And again: if any man thirst, let him come to Me and drink. (St. John vii. 37.) --- and not by His words only, but by His actions also did He call them; and after His resurrection, by the ministry of Peter and the rest of the apostles (hom. lxx,) He informed the invited Jews that the banquet was ready; because the Christian religion being now established, the way to eternal happiness was laid open to mankind.

4 Again he sent other servants, saying: Tell them that were invited: Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my beeves and fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come ye to the wedding.

5 But they neglected, and went their ways, one to his farm, and another to his merchandise.

    Commentary on Verse 5 One to his farm. After they had put to death the Son of God, still did the Almighty invite them to the marriage-feast; but they with futile excuses declined and slighted the proffered favor, wholly taken up with their temporal concerns and sensual enjoyments, their oxen, lands and wives. From the punishment inflicted on these, we learn, that no consideration, how specious soever it may appear, can prove a legitimate excuse for neglecting our spiritual duties. (St. John Chrysostom, hom. lxx.) --- Such as refuse to be reconciled to the holy Catholic Church, allege vain pretexts and impediments; but all these originating in pride, indolence, or human respects, will not serve at the day of general retribution and strict scrutiny.
6 And the rest laid hands on his servants, and having treated them contumeliously, put them to death.
    Commentary on Verse 6 Put them to death. Thus the Jews had many times treated the prophets. (Witham) --- These were by far the most impious and the most ungrateful; tenuerunt Servos ejus, as is related in the Acts, with regard to the death of James, and Stephen, and Paul. (Menochius)
7 But when the king heard of it, he was angry, and sending his armies, he destroyed those murderers, and burnt their city.
    Commentary on Verse 7 Sending his armies. Here our Redeemer predicts the destruction of Jerusalem, by the armies of Vespasian and Titus, sent against them by the Almighty, in punishment of their incredulity and impiety. (St. John Chrysostom, hom. lxx.) --- Thus the king destroyed those murderers, and burnt their city; for sooner or later God is observed to exert His vengeance on all such as despise His word, or persecute His ministers. See the miseries to which the Jews were reduced in Josephus, book the 6th, chap. ix, Hist. of the Jewish war; who declares, that in the last siege of Jerusalem 1,100,000 persons perished, and that the city was completely destroyed. Other interpreters suppose that the evil spirits are here meant, by whom God punishes man, according to Psalm lxxvii, ver. 49. (Menochius and Maldonatus).
8 Then he saith to his servants: The wedding indeed is ready; but they that were invited, were not worthy.
    Commentary on Verse 8 Were not worthy. The Almighty knew full well that they were not worthy; He still sent them these frequently repeated invitations, that they might be left without any excuse. (St. John Chrysostom, hom. lxx.) --- More is signified here than the bare letter conveys; they were not only less worthy of the nuptials, but by their very great obstinacy, ingratitude and impiety, quite unworthy. Not so the Gentiles. (Jansenius) --- Hence Christ says:
9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as you shall find, invite to the wedding.
    Commentary on Verse 9 Go ye therefore into the highways. The apostles first kept themselves within the precincts of Judea, but the Jews continually sought their destruction. Therefore St. Paul said to them, (Acts xiii. 46.) to you it behoved us first to speak the word of God, but seeing you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold we turn to the Gentiles. (St. Chrysostom, hom lxx.)
10 And his servants going out into the highways, gathered together all that they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was filled with guests.
    Commentary on Verse 10 Both bad and good. Christ had before told the Jews that harlots and publicans should, in preference to them, inherit the kingdom of heaven, and that the first should be last, and the last first, which preference of the Gentiles, tormented the Jews more than even the destruction of their city. (St. John Chrysostom, hom. lxx.) --- Good and bad, persons of every tribe, tongue, people, nation, sex and profession, without any exception of persons or conditions. Hence it is evident that the Church of God doth not consist of the elect only; and, that faith alone, without the habit of charity and good works, will not suffice to save us. (Bristow)
11 And the king went in to see the guests: and he saw there a man who had not on a wedding-garment.
    Commentary on Verse 11 Wedding garment, which Calvin erroneously understands of faith, for he came by faith to the nuptials. St. Augustine says it is the honor and glory of the spouse, which each one should seek, and not his own; and he shews this, in a sermon on the marriage feast, to be charity. This is the sentiment of the ancients, of St. Gregory, St. Ambrose, and others. What St. John Chrysostom expounds it, viz. an immaculate life, or a life shining with virtues, and free from the filth of sin, is nearly the same; for charity cannot exist without a good life, nor the purity of a good life, without charity. In his 70th homily on St. Matthew, he says that the garment of life is our works; and this is here mentioned, that none might presume, (like Calvin and his followers) that faith alone was sufficient for salvation. When, therefore we are called by the grace of God, we are clothed with a white garment, to preserve which from every stain, from every grievous sin, depends upon the diligence (the watching and praying) of every individual. (St. John Chrysostom) --- It was the custom then, as it still is in every civilized nation, not to appear at a marriage feast, or at a dinner of ceremony, except in the very best attire. (Bible de Vence)
12 And he saith to him: Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding-garment? But he was silent.
    Commentary on Verse 12 Not having a wedding garment. By this one person, are represented all sinners void of the grace of God. (Witham) --- To enter with unclean garments, is to depart out of this life in the guilt of sin. For those are no less guilty of manifesting a contempt for the Deity, who presume to sit down in the filth of an unclean conscience, than those who neglected to answer the invitations of the Almighty. He is said to be silent, because having nothing to advance in his own defense, he remains self-condemned, and is hurried away to torments; the horrors of which words can never express. (St. John Chrysostom, hom. lxx)
13 Then the king said to the waiters: Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the exterior darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

Haydock Commentary for the Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost