This passage occurs in both the Narrative Lectionary (Year 1) and the Revised Common Lectionary (Most recently March 8, 2015).
Summary: It is all about the right clothing. The only clothing that
can work at the heavenly wedding banquet is our Baptism. I suspect
there is a bunch of historical criticism that would help make sense of
this parable, but I am not sure if that makes a good sermon.
note: Just because someone is thrown out doesn't mean they can't be
invited a second time; or that we have permission not to care for them.
Key Words/Grammar insights:
(kaleo, "call" or "invite"; 22:3, 4, 8, 9 (14 as adjective)). The word
here for invited is simply the perfect of καλεω which means to
call/invite. This word is used in various forms throughout the
passage. Jesus calls us to invite those willing to come because many of
those invited were not interested. A reminder that in all Gospels, but
truly in Matthew, Jesus cares for people the world does not; the b-list
people, so to speak.
τεθυμενα (tethymena, perfect participle of θυω, "slaughter" or
"kill", 22:4). This word can mean sacrificed. If one were to go this
route, then this parable could be interpreted within the paradigm of the
conflict between Jews and early Jewish converts to Christianity: Jesus
has died (been sacrificed); many early Jews are not accepting him. The
temple is destroyed and that nation has fallen, perhaps as punishment
for lack of conversion. This may be way to explain the
passage, but I am not sure if this insight makes for a good sermon. If one wants to go this route, one can also look at
(aorist passive form of φιμοω, phimo-oo, "silence"; 22:12) Jesus will
silence the Sadducees later this chapter (22:34). This parable is not
intended simply as a myth, but as a description, I would argue, of how
Jesus' was and is being received.
("clothe" as verb; "clothing" as noun; 22:11, 12). Matthew's Gospel
talks about clothing a few times (more than any other Gospel,
incidentally). We learn that John the Baptist is clothed in Camel's
hair (3:4); we learn not to worry about our clothing (6:25-28); we meet
the angels wearing white (28:3). Which leads to the question -- what
should one wear to the heavenly banquet?
To get at
this, I did a word search on ενδυω ("clothe/wear" to find examples of
people wearing stuff in the New Testament, especially as it would relate
to the heavenly banquet. I've included them and underlined the word as
the NRSV translates as ενδυω:
1 Corinthians 15:54 When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."
Romans 13:14 Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Luke 24:49 And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high."
Matthew 27:31 After mocking him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
Ephesians 4:24 and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Ephesians 6:14 Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness.
1 Thessalonians 5:8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.
Revelation 19:14 And the armies of heaven, wearing fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses.
Galatians 3:27 As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
me, the only thing that can meet all of these criterion: the gift of
Jesus Christ in faith, love and righteousness, eternally pure and
immortal yet also ready to die to the world, is our Baptism.
(hubrizoo (rough breathing over υ), meaning "mistreat"; 22:6) The word
for mistreat here is "hubriz-oo," literally, have hubris.
Tiny little grammar note. 22:5 shows both ways that Greek can show possessive; his field and his business)