prefiguring the mystery
"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." —Judges 11:31
Jephthah wrongly vowed to offer a human sacrifice if he defeated the Ammonites in war. He defeated the Ammonites, and he offered as a holocaust his only child, a virgin daughter (Jgs 11:34ff).
Although Jephthah was so wrong in his vow, the sacrifice of Jephthah's daughter has intrigued many of God's people for centuries. Possibly this is because in a remote way the sacrifice of Jephthah's daughter prefigured the human sacrifice of Jesus, the Father's only-begotten, virgin Son. The strange events regarding Jephthah's daughter can be a remote, ancient entry into contemplation of the mystery of God's plan of salvation.
We have been baptized into Christ and into His death and resurrection (Rm 6:3ff). We should be immersed in and preoccupied with the crucified and risen Jesus. We should see everything in reference to the central event of all human history: the Passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus, that is, the Paschal mystery. Let us abide forever in the mystery of the Trinity's saving love.
Prayer: Father, send the Holy Spirit to make me an everlasting contemplative of the Paschal mystery.
Promise: "Go out into the byroads and invite to the wedding anyone you come upon." —Mt 22:9
Praise: Pope St. Pius X's papal motto was: "Renew all things in Christ."
Reference: (To learn more about the Bible and the Paschal mystery, we have a large forty-tape series of teachings on the New Testament. To start, order the four tapes covering the entire gospel of Matthew, audio tapes #700, 701, 702, and 703.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Richard L. Klug, February 27, 2003
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 3, 2003