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dc.contributor.authorKuhlman, Mary Haynesen_US
dc.date.accessioned2014-06-09T19:38:14Z
dc.date.available2014-06-09T19:38:14Z
dc.date.issued2009-08-20en_US
dc.identifier.otherLectionary number: 422en_US
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10504/53072
dc.description.abstractWhat is the Lord saying to me in today's unpleasant readings from the Old and New Testaments? From the book of Judges we have the story about how Jephthah killed his own daughter, his only child, as a "burnt offering" to God. In Matthew's Gospel we read about how guests invited to a prince's wedding feast actually "laid hold of [the king's] servants, mistreated them and killed them." Next, as might be expected, the king "was enraged ... destroyed those murderers and burnt their city." Finally, this harsh king rejects a guest who is wearing the wrong clothes - in fact, tells his servants to "Bind his hands and feet and cast him into the darkness outside." And this difficult Gospel ends, "Many are invited, but few are chosen." I don't like to think that! I don't like the grief, violence, judgment and punishment in these selections. What do all these terrible lines mean to me?||One clue may be that today is the feast of St. Bernard, doctor of the Church, abbot of Clairvaux, theologian and reformer of the Cistercian monastic life (and, by the way, St. Bernard dogs were named after someone else!) As an abbot, Bernard led his monks to follow the Rule of St. Benedict very strictly, in an austere way of life which nevertheless attracted large numbers to join them in his own time. Through the centuries his tradition has continued to inspire many to sacrifice worldly comforts in order to seek God - including the Cistercians called Trappists, and among them the well-known 20th century author Thomas Merton.|Another clue may be in the Psalm's refrain "Here I am, Lord, I come to do your will". Right after we hear Jephthah's story, the Psalm sings, "Sacrifice or oblation you wished not ... Burnt offerings or sin-offerings you sought not." Instead, "To do your will, O my God, is my delight."|So maybe I should reflect on how I tend to take God's love for granted. Don't we tend to think that nothing more can be asked of us beyond what we're already doing quite comfortably? We have smug and ready excuses for not feeding the hungry, tending the sick, etc - in other words, for not truly living the Christian faith: "I do enough already," or "I can't be expected to be more than I am."|Today's readings haul us back - not to the ancient practice of human sacrifice or to an obsessive concern with proper attire, but to faith, fidelity and commitment. Jephthah is no ordinary man but a mighty warrior, a figure to represent power and success. The daughter is no ordinary child bouncing out the front door to greet Daddy, but rather a princess giving a ceremonial welcome, signifying, again, power and success. Together, father and daughter represent something greater still -- about not taking the Lord for granted, and about sacrifice beyond human reason, for love. To accept her role in fulfilling her father's vow, the daughter must have loved God, and her father, very much! I see parallels in Jephthah's story with the "Binding of Isaac" by Abraham and even with the sacrifice of the Son of God on the Cross.|Also, let us consider how the man "not dressed in a wedding garment" in the Gospel parable reminds us that the Kingdom of Heaven is not to be taken for granted. When the king notices him, the lazy guest "was reduced to silence." So it's not like he didn't have or couldn't get the proper clothing. (The other last-minute invitees managed to dress appropriately.) This guest complacently preferred the comfort of his old jeans and t-shirt (or the first-century equivalent) instead of sacrificing a bit of convenience to do the right thing for his particular situation.|So today, may this parable shake me out of my slothful self-satisfaction! Let me not take God for granted! Let me love God enough to sacrifice any convenience and comfort in order to say honestly, "To do your will, O my God, is my delight." Or, to quote a prayer that impressed me fifty years ago and haunts me still, "Dear God, keep me from offering sacrifices that cost me nothing."en_US
dc.language.isoen_USen_US
dc.publisherUniversity Ministry, Creighton University.en_US
dc.relation.urihttps://dspace.creighton.edu/xmlui/handle/10504/65064
dc.rightsThese reflections may not be sold or used commercially without permission. Personal or parish use is permitted.en_US
dc.titleReflection for Thursday, August 20, 2009: 20th week in Ordinary Time.en_US
dc.typeEssay
dc.rights.holderUniversity Ministry, Creighton University.en_US
dc.publisher.locationOmaha, Nebraska, United Statesen_US
dc.date.day20en_US
dc.date.year2009en_US
dc.date.monthAugusten_US
dc.program.unitCollege of Arts and Sciencesen_US
dc.program.unitEnglishen_US
dc.program.unitTheologyen_US
dc.url.link1http://onlineministries.creighton.edu/CollaborativeMinistry/daily.htmlen_US
dc.contributor.cuauthorKuhlman, Mary Haynesen_US
dc.date.daynameThursdayen_US
dc.date.seasonOrdinary Timeen_US
dc.date.weekWeek: 20en_US
dc.relation.nexthttps://dspace.creighton.edu/xmlui/handle/10504/53086
dc.relation.previoushttps://dspace.creighton.edu/xmlui/handle/10504/53057
dc.subject.local1Judges 11:29-39aen_US
dc.subject.local2Psalms 40:5, 7-8a, 8b-9, 10en_US
dc.subject.local4Matthew 22:1-14en_US
dc.title.seriesDaily Reflections (Meditations) on the Scriptures from the Roman Catholic Lectionary.en_US
dc.date.cycleYear Ien_US


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    Reflections written by Creighton University faculty, staff, and administrators on the daily mass readings.

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