Even the bad get into heaven

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A) 2020

Imagine being invited to a wedding by a king. That would be some wedding. And yet, according to the gospel some of those invited would not come. 

Of course, if the wedding were today he could only have 20 guests.  Even a king couldn’t have more. You’d be a lucky guest then to get an invite. It is not just the wedding itself that you would look forward to, but also the banquet afterwards: the food, the drink, the dancing, the speeches; what a celebration that would be; imagine for the son of the King. 

Now in the gospel we are told that for some reason some wouldn’t come. So the King was keen that the place should be full. It would look bad, wouldn’t it, if the church was half empty; imagine the poor bride and groom; the most important day of their lives and few could be bothered to come. And so in order to fill up the place the King allows everyone to come in; “ good and bad alike”. Now that is interesting: good and bad alike. Remember this is an allegory for the heavenly banquet; to which we are all invited, “good and bad alike”. It’s understandable that the good would be invited but what isn’t so is that “the bad” would be invited too. I am sure the bad didn’t think they’d be invited, and yet they were. This should be consoling for us. 

I say this because I suspect most of us don’t think of ourselves as good, because we see too many faults and failings and even sinfulness. The good news is that we are not excluded. You see the logic: you don’t have to be good to get into heaven!  Remember the famous ‘good thief’; he was a thief, not a nice person at all; the misery he would have caused people when he stole their money, and yet Jesus said to him moments before he died, “today you will be with me in paradise”.  At the last moment the man recognized his faults and failings; Jesus was impressed with this. And it was enough to get him a ticket for the banquet. 

It is never too late to repent; to say sorry to God and to our neighbour. This is all Jesus asks of us; to recognize our sinfulness and ask forgiveness. And if we do,  the ticket to the royal banquet will be in the post; first class delivery. 

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