Wednesday, August 17, 2005



AUGUST 18, 2005

JUDGES 11:29-39A
The Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah. He passed through Gilead and
Manasseh, and through Mizpah-Gilead as well, and from there he went on
to the Ammonites. Jephthah made a vow to the LORD. "If you deliver the
Ammonites into my power," he said, "whoever comes out of the doors of
my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites shall
belong to the LORD. I shall offer him up as a burnt offering."
Jephthah then went on to the Ammonites to fight against them, and the
LORD delivered them into his power, so that he inflicted a severe
defeat on them, from Aroer to the approach of Minnith (twenty cities in
all) and as far as Abel-keramim. Thus were the Ammonites brought into
subjection by the children of Israel. When Jephthah returned to his
house in Mizpah, it was his daughter who came forth, playing the
tambourines and dancing. She was an only child: he had neither son nor
daughter besides her. When he saw her, he rent his garments and said,
"Alas, daughter, you have struck me down and brought calamity upon me.
For I have made a vow to the LORD and I cannot retract." She replied,
"Father, you have made a vow to the LORD. Do with me as you have vowed,
because the LORD has wrought vengeance for you on your enemies the
Ammonites." Then she said to her father, "Let me have this favor. Spare
me for two months, that I may go off down the mountains to mourn my
virginity with my companions." "Go," he replied, and sent her away for
two months. So she departed with her companions and mourned her
virginity on the mountains. At the end of the two months she returned
to her father, who did to her as he had vowed.

MATTHEW 22:1-14
Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and the elders of the
people in parables saying, "The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a
king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants
to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come. A
second time he sent other servants, saying, `Tell those invited:
"Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are
killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast."' Some ignored the
invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The
rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them. The
king was enraged and sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and
burned their city. Then the king said to his servants, `The feast is
ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out,
therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you
find.' The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they
found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests. But
when the king came in to meet the guests he saw a man there not dressed
in a wedding garment. He said to him, `My friend, how is it that you
came in here without a wedding garment?' But he was reduced to silence.
Then the king said to his attendants, `Bind his hands and feet, and
cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and
grinding of teeth.' Many are invited, but few are chosen."

Today's gospel reading opens on a banquet scene. It is not an
ordinary meal but a banquet. God, in the person of the king who
celebrates the wedding of his son, invites everyone to his table. Maybe
we are too accustomed to his biblical image and so are no longer struck
by it. And yet, it is striking. In other religions, God is often seen
as a king who admits people into his presence in a sort of rigid
standing to attention posture, like well-trained guards at Buckingham
Palace. Here, in our biblical religion, God invites 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 banquet is a wedding banquet. God is a lover, someone
madly in love with his people. In the Old Testament we see God
presenting himself as a suitor wishing to marry Israel. To his people
God offers a covenant that is bridal in character. The prophet Isaiah,
speaking to the Israelites, says: "Your Maker is your husband." In the
New Testament, Jesus shows that this marriage is carried through in his

The whole history of the relationships between God and his people is
thus a love story. God confides to his people: "I love you with an
everlasting love." And what he asks of his people in return is to love.
"You shall love your God with all your heart."

God invites us to his banquet in many ways, and not only through the
voice of his teaching Church and his priests. He invites us through
that brother who inspires us by his good example, through that unusual
occurrence which sets us thinking, through that trial or that great joy
which brings us to lift our eyes towards him.

There are many ways by which one can refuse oneself to God. There is
the violent way of the militant atheists who throw religion into the
garbage can. But there is also the polite way, which consists of
reducing religion to a mere formality. One attends Mass on Sundays,
does his Easter duties, and gives to charity. They think that should be
enough. They say to themselves: After all, a person has to earn his
living, ensure his career, make influential connections, entertain his
friends, keep abreast of things, bring up his children, relax a little.
In short, he has other priorities.

A lot of people, and perhaps we are of this number, believe that
happiness can very well be found not so much at the banquet of God, as
elsewhere. They imagine that, by giving God the minimum time, they will
have the maximum time for themselves - for the securing of their
happiness. They forget that they are made for God and that apart from
God, the most lavish human banquets have a taste of ashes. As St.
Augustine says: "Our heart is restless, Lord, until it rests in you."

"Lord, may I always know the joy of living in your presence and grow in
the hope of seeing you face to face in your everlasting kingdom."

We pray ...
- for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the
- for the speedy recovery and safekeeping of Martin Allen Kunz.
- for the speedy recovery of Fr. Maximo Barbero, S.J.
- for the speedy recovery of Fr. Santiago Leon, S.J.
- for the special intentions of Donna V.
- for the personal intentions of Wayne, Nadine, Noah and Nellie
- for the guidance and enlightenment of Joseph D. and John C.
- for the special intentions of Julie.
- for the healing of Kam Biak.
- for the personal intentions of Jordan D.
- for the health of Mic Mic and Mae Mae
- in thanksgiving for all the blessings received by the Chan family.
- for the speedy recovery of Jan
- for the speedy recovery of Elizabeth
- for the speedy recovery of John
- healings for Elizabeth, Angela's dad, Alan, Phil, Pam, Joyce & BB
- for the personal intentions of Jane Figuerres-Guillermo.
- Birthday: Teresita B.Santiago
- for the gifts of wisdom and knowledge on the incoming medical board
exams of Evangelyn.
- for the early recovery of Lilia Payawal. May the almighty God touch
her with His healing hands.
- for the healing and full recovery of Lester Reyes
- for good health and safe pregnancy of Melissa Simonette Reyes-Lata
- for the increase of vocation to the Holy Priesthood
- for the blessing of another son for Joel & Matel Hernandez
- for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- for world peace and reconciliation.

Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our
prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.

Have a good day!

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