Thursday 20 August 2015

Bewailing virginity

The first reading this morning was about judge Jephthah and the tragic story of his oath to the Lord. Two things struck me: first, the sacredness of the word given to the Lord: Jephthah will not go back on the word given, even if it means sacrificing his daughter, even if it means going against what God himself might stand for. The second: the daughter asks for time not to bewail her life or her death, but her virginity.

Virginity: not at all a value in the Old Testament, and not a value for the Jews of today. But with the revelation of Jesus, yes. Jesus, virgin, accused of being a eunuch. And Mary, virgin and mother. That is the point, I guess, of the virginity of the New Testament. Mary, hortus conclusus, enclosed garden, sealed fountain. Enclosed but blooming with a thousand flowers. Sealed, but flowing and life-giving. Virgin and mother. Wonderful indication about the meaning of consecrated chastity.

The rich young man, asking for eternal life, and Jesus: obey the commandments. But the young man wants more, and more he gets: if you would be perfect, go sell, and come follow. ME. Eternal life is available to those who follow the commandments, those who follow the dictates of their conscience. But perfection entails more, it means a relationship, there is the person of Jesus. There is no way of getting out of that. 

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