Saint Bernard of Clairvaux
Abbot and Doctor of the Church

“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 from the Ammonites in peace shall belong to the LORD. I shall offer him up as a burnt offering.” (Judges 11:30-31.)

Saint Jerome offers the following insight on this verses from today’s First Reading:

“And whereas he [Jovin ianus] prefers the fidelity of the father Jephthah to the tears of the virgin daughter, that corroborates our point. For we are not commending virgins of the world so much as those who are virgins for Christ’s sake. Most Hebrews blame the father for the rash vow he made, “If you will indeed deliver the children of Ammon into my hand, then it shall be that whatsoever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, it shall be for the Lord’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.” Supposing (the Hebrews say) a dog or an ass had met him, what would he have done? Their meaning is that God so ordered events that he who had improvidently made a vow should learn his error by the death of his daughter.” (Against Jovinianus, 1.)

O God,
Who made of the Abbot Saint Bernard
a man consumed with zeal for your house
and a light shining and burning in your Church,
grant, through his intercession,
that we may be on fire with the same spirit
and walk always as children of light.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen