In a sense, Sunday's parable is "out of season." We need to remember the placement of it to catch its meaning. Jesus has already entered Jerusalem for what we now call Holy Week. He is between turning over tables and being crucified. This is the most intense week of his life, ending with the most unjustified capital punishment ever.
Read the parable with that in mind. Read the parable with the sense of what was in the atmosphere in those days - Herod on his way to monitor the Jews swelling Jerusalem for Passover, the religious leaders trying to prove their fidelity to God and the Law and wanting to both placate the occupiers from Rome and keep their followers on the "right path."
Those who heard Jesus tell this parable felt the tension in the atmosphere, knew the political and religious turmoil, and were hit with these words: Matthew 22:1-14. Read them with all of that in mind.
As you read them, try to imagine what Jesus is asking of us. He's about to lay down his life for those he knows and loves and for those he does not yet know and loves. It's only right that he would want his banquet hall filled with those for whom he was willing to die. It's only right that they would respond with more than a casual, "Yes, I'll come." It's only right than when they came, they would be willing to adapt their lives to his ways as a sign of their love.
Join us Sunday as we consider this parable and this life of faith together.