Ps 40:5, 7-8a, 8b-9, 10
Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
20TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Psalter: Week 4 / (White)
St. Bernard of Clairvaux, abbot & doctor
1st Reading: Jdg 11:29-39a
The Spirit of Yahweh came upon Jephthah. He went through Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and then entered the territory of the Ammonites.
Jephthah made a vow to Yahweh: “If you make me victorious, I shall sacrifice to you whoever first comes out of my house to meet me when I return from battle. He shall be for Yahweh and I shall offer him up through the fire.”
Jephthah crossed the territory of the Ammonites to fight against them, and Yahweh gave him victory. He pursued them from the city of Aroer to the entrance of Minnith and Abel Keramim, seizing twenty towns. So he defeated the Ammonites.
When Jephthah returned home to Mizpah, his daughter came out to meet him. She was so happy to see her father that she danced to the sound of her tambourine. She was an only child; besides her he had no other daughter or son.
When Jephthah saw her, he tore his clothes and cried out, “My daughter, you have shattered me; you have brought me misfortune. For I have made a foolish vow to Yahweh, and now I cannot take it back.” She answered him, “Father, even if you have made such a foolish vow, you have to do to me just as you promised, for Yahweh has avenged you and crushed your enemies. I only beg of you to give me two months to live with my companions in the mountains. There I shall lament because I will never marry.” Jephthah said to her, “Go then.” And he sent her away for two months. She and her companions went to the mountains and wept because she would never marry.
At the end of two months, she returned to her father and he fulfilled the vow he had made. The young girl had never known a man.
Gospel: Mt 22:1-14
Jesus continued speaking to them in parables: “This story throws light on the kingdom of heaven: A king gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to call the invited guests to the banquet, but the guests refused to come.
“Again, he sent other servants, instructing them to say to the invited guests, ‘I have prepared a banquet, slaughtered my fattened calves and other animals, and now, everything is ready. Come to the wedding!’ But they paid no attention and went away, some to their farms, and some to their work. Others seized the servants of the king, insulted them and killed them.
“The king was furious. He sent his troops to destroy those murderers and burn their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is prepared, but the invited guests were not worthy. Go instead to the main streets, and invite everyone you ?nd to the wedding feast.’
“The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, good and bad alike, so that the hall was ?lled with guests. The king came in to see the wedding guests, and he noticed a man not wearing a wedding garment. So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in without the wedding clothes?’ But the man remained silent. So the king said to his servants, ‘Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”
In today’s gospel reading Jesus tells us a parable in which God invites us to his table. And his meal is not a stingy one. It is a banquet. For our God is a generous God, who gives lavishly, without ever tiring.
Furthermore, this banquest is a wedding banquet. God is a lover, someone madly in love with humankind. In the Old Testament we see him presenting himself as a suitor wishing to marry Israel. To this people he offers a covenant, and a covenant bridal in character: “For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name” (Is 54:4). In the New Testament Jesus shows that this marriage is carried through in his person.
The whole history of the relationship between God and us is thus a love story. God confides to us the innermost of his heart: “I love you with an everlasting love” (Jer 31:3). And what he asks of us in return, the first commandment which includes all the other, is to love: “You shall love the Lord you God with all your heart” (Dt 6:5).
It cannot be said that God is complicated.
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