Thursday, August 18, 2011

Jephthah's mistake

Horrible readings today, the kind of things that militant atheists like to point to in order to discredit the whole of Scripture: from Judges, a case of child sacrifice in fulfilment of a rash vow, and in the Gospel, the erstwhile wedding guest who gets thrown out of the party for what would seem a trivial reason. Not the easiest things to use for one's morning meditation!
While both readings provide plenty of outrageous behavior, from Jephthah's sacrilegious offering to the murderous rejection of the King's wedding invitation on the part of the invited guests, there is one example of perfectly appropriate behavior: Jephthah's unnamed daughter with her tamborines. The girl who came out of the house playing her tamborines and dancing for her father's victory would not have shown up at the King's wedding banquet without a wedding garment.
The rest of the folks in the today's liturgy, Jephthah included, seem to have absorbed false values from the surrounding culture. Jephthah was imitating the religious behavior of his enemies (for whom child sacrifice was the epitome of piety) while some of the invited wedding guests are absorbed in their money-making, and the rest degenerated into a violent mob--both behaviors our daily papers testify to!
The Responsorial Psalm suggests the best attitude to take: "Here am I, Lord, I come to do your will." And what is that will? St Paul tells us: that we should be "clothed in Christ"!

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