Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 162
It is the nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost. Today’s Bach cantata is “Ach! ich sehe, itzt, da ich zur Hochzeit gehe” (Ah! I see, now, when I go to the wedding):
Today’s Gospel reading is Matthew 22:1-14:
The Parable of the Wedding Banquet
Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.
“Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’
“But they paid no attention and went off — one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.
“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.
“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless.
“Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
“For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
The text of today’s piece, which was written specifically for this Gospel passage (as you will see) is available here. It contains these words:
Ah! I see,
now, when I go to the wedding,
prosperity and woe,
soul’s poison and the bread of life,
heaven, hell, life, death,
the radiance of heaven and the flames of hell are gathered together.
Jesus, help me to withstand them!
. . . .
My Jesus, do not let me
come poorly dressed to the wedding,
so that your judgment does not fall on me;
I have indeed heard with horror
how a brash wedding guest,
appearing without robes,
was thrown out and condemned!
I also know my unworthiness;
ah! give me
a wedding gown of faith;
let your merit
serve as my jewelry!
Give me for wedding finery
the robe of salvation,
the white silk of innocence!
Ah! let your blood,
royal purple, cover
the old tunic of Adam
and its sinful stains,
then I shall be lovely and chaste
and welcome to you,
then I shall worthily adorn
the feast of the Lamb.
Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.