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THURSDAY OF THE TWENTIETH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

August 19, 2021


BEING RESPONSIBLE IN KEEPING GOD’S PROMISES


Judges 11:29-39

Psalm 40:5, 7-8, 9, 10

Matthew 22:1-14


The importance of keeping one’s promises; particularly promises made to the Lord God, are the focus of today’s readings. In the First Reading, Jephthah makes a promise to the Lord if the Lord God would give him victory over his enemies. He had bargained with God to offer in sacrifice the first person whom he met after returning from a military battle, if God would give him and his

fellow tribes’ soldiers victory over their enemies.


As Jephthah returns to his home, he is greeted by his jubilant daughter. Even though Jephthah regrets having to sacrifice his only child, he keeps the promise he made to the Lord. To me, the story is not told to lift up the practices of bargaining with God nor of offering people as sacrifices to God. The purpose of the inclusion of this account is to show how important it is to keep one’s promises, especially to the Lord God.


Our Gospel today is about the marriage feast. The king in this parable is God the Father, and the wedding is the marriage between Christ and the Church. The Father invites each one of us to be a member of the Church and to enter into divine union with His Son Jesus, thus entering into the life of the Holy Trinity.


But we see right away in the parable that the invited guests “refused to come.” As the parable goes on, the king tried even harder to invite the guests, but they all responded in one of two ways. “Some ignored the invitation and went away...” and “The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them.” Clearly, this was not the response hoped for by the generous king. We see in these two responses two levels of rejection of the Gospel that are present in our world today, just as it was at the time of Jesus.


The first level of rejection is indifference. Many people are very busy today. We easily become occupied with many things that matter little in the end. Many are consumed by their smartphones, computers and tablets. Many spend countless hours watching television. Others become workaholics, spending most of their time at their occupation and leaving little time for that which is most important, such as family, prayer and service. As a result, it is very easy to become indifferent to the matters of faith and easy to fail to pray every day so as to seek out and fulfill God’s will. This indifference is quite serious.


Second level is the rejection of the faith in our world through a growing hostility toward the Church and morality. There are many ways in which the secular world continues to promote a culture that is contrary to the Gospel. And when Christians speak out and oppose these new cultural tendencies, they are condemned and often characterized as being prejudiced or judgmental. Such malice was displayed by the guests in this parable who “laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them.” Hostility toward the Church, the faith and clear moral principles laid down by God appears to be growing every year.


Dear Christians, today let us meditate upon the Wedding Feast to which we are invited. We are invited to enter into the glorious celebration of becoming one with the Savior of the World. We are invited to surrender our life to Him without reserve. We are invited to holiness, moral integrity, unwavering fidelity to God, service of others, charity that knows no bounds and so much more. To enter the Wedding Feast of the Lamb is something that must take place every day for the rest of our life. God is inviting you. Will you say “Yes” with every fiber of your being?

May you continue to respond to the call of God in all you do!

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