29 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, and he passed through Gilead and Manasseh, and passed on to Mizpah of Gilead, and from Mizpah of Gilead he passed on to the Ammonites.
30 And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD, and said, “If thou wilt give the Ammonites into my hand,
31 then whoever comes forth from the doors of my house to meet me, when I return victorious from the Ammonites, shall be the LORDs, and I will offer him up for a burnt offering.”
32 So Jephthah crossed over to the Ammonites to fight against them; and the LORD gave them into his hand.
33 And he smote them from Aroer to the neighborhood of Minnith, twenty cities, and as far as Abel-keramim, with a very great slaughter. So the Ammonites were subdued before the people of Israel.
34 Then Jephthah came to his home at Mizpah; and behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances; she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter.
35 And when he saw her, he rent his clothes, and said, “Alas, my daughter! you have brought me very low, and you have become the cause of great trouble to me; for I have opened my mouth to the LORD, and I cannot take back my vow.”
36 And she said to him, “My father, if you have opened your mouth to the LORD, do to me according to what has gone forth from your mouth, now that the LORD has avenged you on your enemies, on the Ammonites.”
37 And she said to her father, “Let this thing be done for me; let me alone two months, that I may go and wander on the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my companions.” 38 And he said, “Go.” And he sent her away for two months; and she departed, she and her companions, and bewailed her virginity upon the mountains. 39 And at the end of two months, she returned to her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had made. She had never known a man. And it became a custom in Israel.
1 And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a marriage feast for his son,
3 and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the marriage feast; but they would not come.4 Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, Behold, I have made ready my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves are killed, and everything is ready; come to the marriage feast.’
5 But they made light of it and went off, one to his farm, another to his business,
6 while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them.7 The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy.9 Go therefore to the thoroughfares, and invite to the marriage feast as many as you find.’10 And those servants went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.11 “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment;
12 and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless.
13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”
THE BOOK OF JUDGES records Jephthah’s promise to God to offer up as a sacrifice “anyone” whom he shall meet at the door of his house upon his victory over his enemy the Ammonites! Jephthah’s daughter is the first one to greet him with joy whilst performing a ritual dance in honor of the victory he has won over the enemy of the people! We note that the daughter had her father’s consent to make the Nazirite vow (Num 30:7) to devote herself to God alone by remaining a virgin. On the other hand, Jephthah’s vow to God (vv 30-31) presented him with a dilemma! How could he slain his ‘only’ daughter as a sacrificial offering? This episodic event led him to “rent his clothes” as if his daughter was already dead before he “send her away to bewail her virginity!”
It is reasonable to speculate that Jephthah offered an unblemished lamb as a sacrifice to God as Abraham did (Gen 22:12-13), rather than slaughter his only daughter which would have ended his lineage.Today’s reading is a typological foretelling of the role and commitment of Mary whose purity and virginity remained uncorrupted, because she had “never known a man.”Moreover the victory expression of the woman rhyme with Mary’s exaltation when she visited Elizabeth. Lk 1:46-55 Jephthah is a typological figure of Jesus who remained true to His vow to please the Father and win us victory over sin and evil.
St MATTHEW’S GOSPEL ennumerate an apocalyptic parable that describe the efforts of the servants of the Kingdom to bring all God’s people to partake in His feast. Regrettably those who were invited offered all manner of excuses to not heed Christs invitation which led to a ‘new’ invitation calling both “bad and good” to participate in the wedding feast!
The gospel reading illustrate our unworthiness to be “friends” and members of the body of Christ because of our many fault lines. It is exactly because of concupiscence-an attraction to sin-that we need to be made pure and holy in and through the Sacraments given by our Lord. To this extent we are continuesly called to live out our baptismal, confirmation and spousal vows; be it in marriage; as religious sisters, brothers or the priesthood. By living contrary to our holy calling, we effectively denounce and strip ourselves of the “wedding garment” that shall call into question and expose our covert attempt to sneak into heaven!
LET US PRAY: Psalms 40:5,7-10
5 Thou hast multiplied, O LORD my God, thy wondrous deeds and thy thoughts toward us; none can compare with thee! Were I to proclaim and tell of them, they would be more than can be numbered.
7 Then I said, “Lo, I come; in the roll of the book it is written of me; 8 I delight to do thy will, O my God; thy law is within my heart.” 9 I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; lo, I have not restrained my lips, as thou knowest, O LORD.10 I have not hid thy saving help within my heart, I have spoken of thy faithfulness and thy salvation; I have not concealed thy steadfast love and thy faithfulness from the great congregation.
Author. Henry R SYLVESTER Note: The daily scripture readings are taken from the Roman Missal which the Catholic Church use in the daily Celebration of the Holy Eucharist throughout the world.Some weekly readings may differ because of the celebration of local feast days.
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