Matt 22:1-14; PS 40 Here I am Lord, I come to do your will; Judges 11:29-39
Toda is the feast day of St Bernard of Clairvaux
Here are a few words of insight from this doctor of the church
"There are those who seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge; that is Curiosity.
There are those who seek knowledge to be known by others; that is Vanity.
There are those who seek knowledge in order to serve; that is Love."
"What we love we shall grow to resemble."
Just a few thoughts about our readings for today.
Our first reading is tragic. There is no way around it. We have a Father who makes an oath to the Lord that ultimately cost him his daughter's life.
It points to two realities in life. God can be served generously and badly. If it is badly then it should not be done at all. Morally bad promises are never pleasing to God.
Secondly, bargaining with God is unhealthy. It is not part of the healthy and vibrant relationship God wants to have with us. Many times these bargains, like the one in the story for today, is made out of pride. Pride is never a place from which we should seek answers to life's problems. Humility is the ground of all virtue.
The reading should be appalling. It should strike a chord in us.
Does God demand that we fulfill every promise? God demands that every promise we make should be tempered by humility and true charity. It is charity that covers a multitude of sins not pride.
Secondly we get to the gospel and what we discover is a truth about the human heart. There are fifty ways to say "no" to God. The human heart is skilled in finding ways to avoid the demands that force us to change in regards to our comfort and lifestyle.
Avoidance we are really good at.
What of the guest with out the proper garment? Many fathers of the church point to the fact it wasn't so much his outer garments but rather his inner garment of gratitude that was missing. Gratitude shows itself externally.
Others bible scholars suggest that the guest would have been given a garment to wear at the front door. The king wold have provided garments for every one, almost like those restaurants that demand a coat to be worn but provide them if a guest is without. It would have been the same in the first century. If someone invited you to a party then they would had provided the proper attire as well.
Thus, the guest's refusal to put on what was provided points to a certain stubbornness and pride of life that eventually got him kicked out of the celebration and bound and thrown into darkness.
But needless to say ungrateful guest are always on God's radar. Ingratitude always points to resistance to God's grace offered to us daily.
God gives. We are invited to cooperate. Both together equate to fullness of life and joy.