“And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD, and said, ‘If thou wilt give the Ammonites into my hand, then whoever comes forth from the doors of my house to meet me, when I return victorious from the Ammonites, shall be the Lord’s, and I will offer him up for a burnt offering.’” (Judges 11:30-31)
Our first reading today narrates a very moving story. Jephthah made a vow out of his own free will unlike the case of Abraham who was specifically asked by God to offer his Son, Isaac as a burnt offering which eventually turned out to be a test of Abraham’s faithfulness.
Now, you may wonder, what lessons do we learn from Jephthah’s actions? Simply put, no one is ever forced to make a vow to God but once you have vowed and God keeps His part, you must fulfil yours.
For instance, on the day of your marriage, you made a vow to God to be faithful to your spouse till the day you die. Also, as a priest or a professed religious, we also made vows on the day of our ordination or consecration which we are supposed to fulfil.
In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus gave a parable of a wedding feast to which the invited guests failed to show up forcing the King to send out servants to bring in as many people as possible to the wedding.
During the marriage feast, the King discovered there was one who came into the feast without a wedding garment. Not only was this man bound hand and foot, but he was also cast into the outer darkness; a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Just as no one forced Jephthah to make a vow, no one forced this man into the marriage feast. He came on his own. He was supposed to do just one thing; put on a wedding garment like all the others who were invited freely. But in the end, he got what his actions deserved.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, grant that I may be faithful to my vows to the end. Amen.
Bible Study: Judges 11:29-39, Psalm 40 & Matthew 22:1-14).