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«Everything is Ready: Come to the Marriage Banquet .

2012, pp. 432.

The present monograph undertakes an exegetical investigation into the meaning and function of Jesus’ Parable of the Invitation to the Royal Marriage Banquet (Matt 22,1-14) in the context of the First Gospel. Formulated as a thesis, this dissertation argues that the parable in Matt 22,1-14 is primarily not paraenetical or polemical but revelatory. In the parable under discussion the Evangelist uses the symbolism of a marriage festivity (γάμος) to reveal the likeness of the reign of heaven (22,2). By the inauguration of the kingdom of heaven humankind becomes the object of God’s fatherly love; the term marriage banquet, therefore, refers to the joy or the salvation in the promised messianic era, which God now offers in the person and mission of Jesus, the Bridegroom of the new nuptials. The abundance of God’s love now finds its most caring and elevated manifestation in commensality with the Son in the presence of the Father. The advent of the kingdom relativises the priorities of peoples’ lives; the invitation given to the marriage festivity is a call to re-orient one’s life. Heaven’s rule, which is the absolute reason of a person’s life, sets the standards of one’s life and demands total and primary allegiance to the kingdom. According to the parable, the code of conduct, or the dress-code required for admission to the banquet of the kingdom, is this preferential option for the reign of heaven, and it is represented by the wedding garment one is supposed to have at the nuptial banquet (22,11-13). This radicalised demand for the option for the reign of heaven is the divine-imperative necessitated by the divine-indicative that the “the kingdom of God is drawing near” (3,2; 4,17; 10,7). .

Joseph Nalpathilchira, born in Kerala (India), is a priest of the archdiocese of Changanacherry. He holds a Doctorate in Sacred Scripture (DSS) from the Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome.