Saint Matthew 22:1-14.
Book of Judges 11:29-39a.
The spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah. He passed through Gilead and Manasseh, and through Mizpah-Gilead as well, and from there he went on to the Ammonites. Jephthah made a vow to the LORD. "If you deliver the Ammonites into my power," he said, "whoever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites shall belong to the LORD. I shall offer him up as a holocaust." Jephthah then went on to the Ammonites to fight against them, and the LORD delivered them into his power, so that he inflicted a severe defeat on them, from Aroer to the approach of Minnith (twenty cities in all) and as far as Abel-keramin. Thus were the Ammonites brought into subjection by the Israelites. When Jephthah returned to his house in Mizpah, it was his daughter who came forth, playing the tambourines and dancing. She was an only child: he had neither son nor daughter besides her. When he saw her, he rent his garments and said, "Alas, daughter, you have struck me down and brought calamity upon me. For I have made a vow to the LORD and I cannot retract." "Father," she replied, "you have made a vow to the LORD. Do with me as you have vowed, because the LORD has wrought vengeance for you on your enemies the Ammonites." Then she said to her father, "Let me have this favor. Spare me for two months, that I may go off down the mountains to mourn my virginity with my companions." "Go," he replied, and sent her away for two months. So she departed with her companions and mourned her virginity on the mountains. At the end of the two months she returned to her father, who did to her as he had vowed. She had not been intimate with man. It then became a custom in Israel
Happy those whose trust is the LORD, who turn not to idolatry or to those who stray after falsehood. sacrifice and offering you do not want; but ears open to obedience you gave me. Holocausts and sin-offerings you do not require; so I said, "Here I am; your commands for me are written in the scroll. so I said, "Here I am; your commands for me are written in the scroll. To do your will is my delight; my God, your law is in my heart!"
I announced your deed to a great assembly; I did not restrain my lips; you, LORD, are my witness.
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 22:1-14.
Jesus again in reply spoke to them in parables, saying, The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come. A second time he sent other servants, saying, 'Tell those invited: "Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast."' Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged and sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, 'The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.' The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to meet the guests he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment. He said to him, 'My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?' But he was reduced to silence. Then the king said to his attendants, 'Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.' Many are invited, but few are chosen."
Commentary of the day
Saint Macarius of Egypt (?-405), monk
Spiritual homilies, no.15, §30-31
«Come to the wedding feast»
In the visible world, if a very small people rise up against the king to make war on him, the latter doesn't bother to lead the operation himself but sends his soldiers with their captains and it is they who engage combat. But if, on the other hand, the people who rise up against him is very powerful and capable of ravaging his kingdom, the king feels he must undertake the campaign himself, together with his court and army, and lead the battle. See, then, what dignity is yours! God himself set out on campaign together with his armies, that is to say the angels and his blessed spirits, coming to defend you himself and deliver you from death. Take heart, then, and behold the providence of which you are the object. Let us take another example from our present life. Imagine a king who meets a poor, sick man and does not turn away in disgust but heals his wounds with health-giving remedies. He takes him into his palace, clothes him in purple, puts a diadem on him and invites him to his table. This is the way in which Christ, the heavenly king, comes to man in his sickness, heals him and makes him sit down at his royal table, and all this without violating his freedom but drawing him on by persuasion to accept so high an honor. Indeed, it is written in the Gospel how the Lord sent his servants to invite those who should have been delighted to come, and he sent them a summons: «My dinner is ready!» But those who had been called excused themselves... Do you see what happened? He who sent out the call was ready, but those who were called made off. So it is they who are responsible for their fate. This, then, is the Christian's great dignity. See how the Lord prepares the Kingdom for him and invites him to come in; but as for those others, they refuse to come. From the point of view of the gift they are about to receive we could say that, if someone were to undergo trials from the creation of Adam to the end of the world, they would have done nothing by comparison with the glory they will receive as an inheritance, for they must reign with Christ through endless ages. Glory be to him who has loved that soul so much and entrusted both himself and his grace to it! Glory be to his majesty!