The parable of the wedding feast, spoken by the Lord almost 2,000 years ago, very aptly describes our modern life, dear brethren. “Jesus said: the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king, who made a marriage feast for his son, and sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.”
In our times, the ones who are bidden, who have been invited to the feast, - are you and I, dear brethren, are all of us, Orthodox Christians. Every week we are invited by the Lord to a feast of faith, i.e. to church services, but unfortunately, we do not differ greatly from those who were bidden in the parable and would not come. We, too, will not come to church, or will come very rarely.
“Again the king sent forth other servants, saying: Tell them which are bidden: Behold, I have prepared my dinner and all is ready; come to the marriage feast. But they, disdaining it, went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise.”
To us the Lord also constantly sends His servants - priests, hierarchs, the Holy Fathers, - who call us to come to church, who urge us to attend the services, who explain to us both verbally and in writing that salvation can be attained only in the church, that the Lord has done everything for us, that in the church, by means of the sacraments, particularly the sacrament of the Eucharist, He gives us all requisite blessings, both spiritual and physical… And what about us? We, too, disdain these summons, we do not listen to God’s servants, we look down upon church services, and we go our ways… we go the way of amusements, the way of worldly activities, we immerse ourselves in worldly busyness, we even just loaf around the house, doing nothing, but we do not come to church.
And what happened in the parable to those that were bidden? The Lord says: “But when the king heard of it, he was wroth… and he said to his servants: the wedding is ready, but they that were bidden, were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.”
So you see, dear brethren, - if we reject the Lord’s summons, if we are too lazy to come to church, we may find ourselves unworthy, and by becoming unworthy we will lose all the Lord’s blessings, we will be ejected from the feast of faith, and others will be called in our place. And we will then lose everything: we will lose the source of life, which for us is represented by the Holy Gifts, and we may even lose eternal life itself.
But it turns out that it is not enough just to come to church - we must also come dressed appropriately. As the parable tells us: “When the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man who had not on a wedding garment. Then said the king to his servants: take him away and cast him into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Do you see, dear brethren, how important it is to enter the church properly clad, and what terrible punishment awaits us for inappropriate dress! But what constitutes a proper wedding garment for us? The proper garment is a pure soul. If we remain in the church dressed inappropriately, i.e. with a soul tarnished by sins, then we shall be expelled, that is, we will be deprived of all spiritual blessings.
We must come to church, dear brethren, as to a spiritual cleaner, and we must cleanse the garment of our soul through the sacrament of penitence, and then not only will we be among the bidden ones, but also among the chosen ones, and then we will spiritually feast for eternity in the Kingdom of God.