Mass Readings: August 18

First: Judges 11:29-39
Resp: Psalm 40:5,7-10
Gospel: Matthew 22:1-14
Reprinted from Presentation Ministries, a lay association of the Catholic Church that focuses on evangelization and discipleship through Bible teaching, daily Mass, the charisms of the Holy Spirit, and Small Christian Community.

BAPTISMAL, EUCHARISTIC VICTORY

"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.' " –Judges 11:30-31

Jephthah understood that the keys to victory are taking vows and making sacrifices. He was very confused and wrong about what vows to take and what to sacrifice, but he did have an astounding insight into the dimensions of the victorious life and into the nature of reality.

In Jesus' light, we understand how to rightly apply Jephthah's insights. Our baptismal promises are the vows by which we have victory over sin, death, and Satan. By keeping these promises, we will live the victory of holiness, freedom, and purity on earth and finally receive the ultimate victory of God's people in heaven.

Besides living our baptismal promises, we need to live in unity with the saving sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary. We do this by doing the Eucharist in memory of Jesus (1 Cor 11:24-25). Thus, we are united with Jesus in His death (1 Cor 11:26) and then share in the ultimate victory of His resurrection (see Jn 6:54).

We receive total and ultimate victory through vows and sacrifices – through living our Baptisms and Eucharists. In Jesus, we are more than conquerors (Rm 8:37), and we enter into Jesus through Baptism (Rm 6:3) and Eucharist (Jn 6:56). In the sacraments, celebrate the victory of Jesus.

PRAYER: Father, send the Spirit to teach me the deeper meaning of the sacraments.
PROMISE: "The reign of God may be likened to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son." –Mt 22:2
PRAISE: Mark celebrates baptismal anniversaries by making cards and honoring those whose new life has helped bring forth God's kingdom.