Homily for Mass, Franciscan Missionaries of Mary Convent, Ottawa

[Readings: Judges 11:29-39;  Ps 40;  Mat 22:1-14]


We recoil at the vow that Jephthah makes – in the first reading – and the sacrifice.  But what we can take from that story is his insight into being victorious through vows and sacrifice.


If we draw a parallel: the vows that make us victorious, here and in the hereafter, are our baptismal promises: the rejection of sin and of Satan, and the profession of the true faith.  Our baptismal promises are the vows through which we gain victory over sin and death, over Satan and all evil forces.  The sacrifice we’re called to make is summed up in the sacrifice of the Mass.  We don’t imitate Jephthah in the specifics of his vow and sacrifice – but we are called to live intensely the promises of our baptism by embracing a sacrifical life, united with the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary.


It’s in doing this that we can be victorious – in the sense of gaining eternal life;  but also, here and now, to live in the power of the Spirit, alive with the life and love of Christ.


The gospel today is a reminder to us that the message of Jesus does make demands on us.  At the very least – turning up!  Turning up at Mass, turning up at prayer time, turning up to our daily duties.  But turning up isn’t enough.


In the Gospel parable, one man turns up to the wedding banquet, but he doesn’t wear the wedding robe.  Scholars tell us that it was the duty of the host of the banquet to provide the wedding robe.  So the implication is that the man didn’t even bother to wear the robe that his host had provided for him.


Turning up is not enough … we need to use properly all that God provides for us.


Today we might take some time to be conscious of all the means of salvation that God provides for us: the sacraments, the scriptures, the teaching of the church, sacramentals, the example of holy men and women.  Let’s ask the Lord’s help not to neglect anything he has provided for us, and not to miss or waste any of the invitations God sends to us to draw us closer to Himself.


As we faithfully live out our baptismal promises each day, and unite ourselves with the sacrifice of Jesus in the eucharist, may we be joyful in the victory God gives us in order to enjoy eternal life with Him.