When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them (a scholar of the law) tested him by asking, "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" He said to him, "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments." (Mt 22:34-40)
Jesus is challenged by Pharisees and Sadducees and the leaders and so on. This itself shows that Jesus was teaching and preaching and doing things different from the rest of them. So representatives from each group come and question him. But the reply of Jesus is more traditional and often times from the Bible itself.
In the Law of Moses there were 613 commandments. These rules grew out of a few rules which were in the beginning and in fact they grew out of the basic understanding of the people when they left Egypt. Their understanding was ‘one God – one people’. It was this understanding that kept them together and brought them out of Egypt into the land of Canaan.
Jesus, as he is preparing the people for a new exodus, is re-emphasising to the people the basics of the rules. They are not orders to be obeyed in our own strength, but invitation and promises to a new way of life in which hatred and pride are removed or left behind so that love becomes a reality. Love is the only reality for Jesus.
Jesus again in reply spoke to them in parables, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come. A second time he sent other servants, saying, 'Tell those invited: "Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast."'…
Then he said to his servants, 'The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.' …
Then the king said to his attendants, 'Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.' Many are invited, but few are chosen." (Mt 22:1-14)
This parable is interesting. We have similar stories in this gospel (tenants) and in the other Gospels. Yes Jesus was saying many stories of this type while he was preaching on the kingdom. Some times the stories were joined together to communicate a message and other times stories were broken into two etc. Here probably two separate stories were joined together. (vv 11-13 probably was a separate story. Because the workers went into the streets and gathered whomever they found)
One of the lessons in this story is that actions have consequences. Moral choices that we make do matter. God’s forgiveness does not mean one can do whatever he wants and God will set right everything. God wants us to take responsibility for what we do. God is not a sooth saying prophet who lets go anything and everything.
The ‘originally invited’ were not part of the guests. Wedding hall gets filled up. Who were they? In Matthew’s gospel they were the tax-collectors, the prostitutes, the marginalized etc. Because they were invited (now) did not mean they were alright in the sight of Jesus. They had the need of a wedding garment. The blind man was not alright because he was blind he had to be made well. (There is no saying ‘ I am what I am or I will be what I will be etc). God (Jesus) loved them as they were but he refused to let them go as they were. God’s love wants them to be changed. They need the wedding clothes.