Greetings on this the Thursday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Jgs 11:29-39a; PS 40:5, 7-8a, 8b-9, 10; Mt 22:1-14
Notes: The first reading is a tragic story. A good way to view these readings paired with the gospel portion is as follows:
- Some people tell God what He wants.
- Some people don’t care what God wants.
- Some people give God what he wants because what he wants isn’t terrible or too difficult. What He wants is peaceful, real and good.
The harm to humanity and the perpetrator is incalculable when they decide what God wants or don’t care about what he wants!
Jephthah makes a tragic vow that shows his loyalty but ill-formed piety.
Making a vow he promises to offer him up as a burnt offering the first person he sees upon return from military victory as an oblation.
It’s his daughter.
And, after a short time stay of execution, he does it with his daughter’s permission.
There is no prayer in that promise and act.
This is blind obedience, not obedience to God, but to his mental manifestation of what pleases God.
A true tragedy of mind, body and spirit.
The women however understood the tragedy of this event.
At the end of the two months she returned to her father, and he did to her as he had vowed. She had not had relations with any man.
It became a custom in Israel for Israelite women to go yearly to mourn the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite for four days of the year (Jgs 11:39-40).
Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
The psalm as a centering way to relate to the Lord.
What Does God Want?
- Blessed the man who makes the LORD his trust.
- Don’t turn to idolatry.
- Don’t follow those who stray after falsehood.
- Don’t make sacrifice or oblation your relational model.
- Don’t make burnt offerings or sin-offerings your relational model.
- Do have ears open to obedience.
- Do say “Behold I come.”
- I will study your word, the written scroll, and do what it is prescribed for me.
- I will do your will, O my God, to be my delight.
- I will allow your law to be within my heart!
- I announce your justice in the vast assembly.
- I will speak of your mercy and love.
If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.
Call to the wedding banquet.
- Some ignored the invitation and instead followed their own ideas.
- Some mistreated or killed the messengers.
- All are invited.
- All who come must conform their lives to what God wants.
Today we describe that as baptism for the forgiveness of sin and leading a virtuous life for the rest of your life as best you can.
Peace be with you,