Did you ever know that a white wedding dress has less to do with the bride’s own purity and more to do with linking the Sacrament of Matrimony to the Sacrament of Baptism? See how this all ties together with the Queenship of Mary that we celebrate today as well as the Gospel of the guests and the wedding feast.
Today’s Gospel text, the one assigned to the day in Ordinary time, rather than a special Gospel of the memorial, is in an interesting way very appropriate to the memorial. Jesus tells the parable of the King’s wedding feast to presumably challenge the leaders of Israel who cannot see that Jesus is the fulfillment of the messianic promise. The wedding is the “marriage” of God Son and God’s people in such a way that the people are divinized or transformed through the Son into His very being. The symbol of the wedding garment has long been understood as taking on the life of the Spirit through Baptism (thus the traditional wedding dress is an “echo” of the baptismal gown, as is the alb, and even the pall on the coffin of the deceased). The symbol of the garment is the symbol for a transformed body (new skin) – so in this case the clothing DOES make the person. At least it is understood to make the person fully what he or she was created to be – a member of Christ’s body within the Trinitarian life.
This is the wedding feast! To show up at the feast without accepting the garment of divine life (the fellow didn’t have to come up with his own garment – it would have been given at the door) is not possible. In other words, we aren’t automatically divinized, there is some action on the part of our own freedom that accepts what God is offering. One has to embrace the life of God’s reign with Jesus and through the Holy Spirit. Mary, symbol for the Church, is the “bride” who is crowned queen of God’s reign – and all of us are invited to be as Mary is, perfectly docile to the desire of God for us – which ultimately is our perfect joy in participation at the Banquet of God.
(Adapted from Eileen Burke-Sullivan)