Readings and Reflection for August 19, Thursday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time


“Whoever comes forth from the doors of my house to meet me, I will offer him up for a burnt offering.”
A reading from the Book of Judges (Judges 11:29-39a)

In those days: The Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, and he passed through Gilead and Manasseh, and passed on to Mizpah of Gilead, and from Mizpah of Gilead he passed on to the Ammonites. And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord, and said, “If you will 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.” So Jephthah crossed over to the Ammonites to fight against them; and the Lord gave them into his hand. And he struck them from Aroer to the neighbourhood of Minnith, twenty cities, and as far as Abel-keramim, with a very great slaughter. So the Ammonites were subdued before the sons of Israel. Then Jephthah came to his home at Mizpah; and behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances; she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter. And when he saw her, he tore his clothes, and said, “Alas, my daughter! you have brought me very low, and you have become the cause of great trouble to me; for I have opened my mouth to the Lord, and I cannot take back my vow.” And she said to him, “My father, if you have opened your mouth to the Lord, do to me according to what has gone forth from your mouth, now that the Lord has avenged you on your enemies, on the Ammonites.” And she said to her father, “Let this thing be done for me; let me alone two months, that I may go and wander on the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my companions.” And he said, “Go.” And he sent her away for two months; and she departed, she and her companions, and bewailed her virginity upon the mountains. And at the end of two months, she returned to her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had made.

The word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 40:5.7-8a.8b-9.10 (R. see 8a.9a)
R/. See, I have come, Lord, to do your will.

Blessed the man who has placed
his trust in the Lord,
and has not gone over to the proud
who follow false gods. R.

You delight not in sacrifice and offerings,
but in an open ear.
You do not ask for holocaust and victim.
Then I said, “See, I have come.” R.

R/. See, I have come, Lord, to do your will.

In the scroll of the book it stands written of me:
“I delight to do your will, O my God;
your instruction lies deep within me.” R.

Your justice I have proclaimed
in the great assembly.
My lips I have not sealed;
you know it, O Lord. R.

ALLELUIA Psalm 95:7d.8a
Alleluia. Today, harden not your hearts, but listen to the voice of the Lord. Alleluia.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 22:1-14)
“Invite to the marriage feast as many as you find.”

At that time: Again Jesus spoke to the chief priests and the elders of the people in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a marriage feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the marriage feast; but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, Behold, I have made ready my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves are killed, and

everything is ready; come to the marriage feast.’ But they made light of it and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burnt their city. “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the streets, and invite to the marriage feast as many as you find.’ And those servants went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good; so the wedding hall was filled with guests. “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment; and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and quashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Today’s Reflection
The Parable of the wedding feast reflects what happens in real life. Friends easily disappoint us while strangers surprise us. Jesus narrates the parable of a man who invited friends and well-wishers to the wedding feast of his son. Those he invited did not show up, so he opened his doors to strangers who were willing to join in the celebration. Likewise, God invites us daily to feast with him in the kingdom of righteousness, peace and joy, but we are too busy. He invites us to feast on his word and on the Bread of life, but we seek satisfaction in things that do not last. If we respond to God’s invitation, we must do so wholeheartedly. Putting on the right garment means coming to him with the right disposition.


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