Psalm 116:12-13, 15-16, 17-18
One of the many ways to enter the richness of the Scripture presented in today’s Ordinary-Time liturgy is to consider the seeming purposes of God for laws or commands. Another entry point that invites pondering is the role of ritual and memory for long term relationships.
The first reading from Exodus describes both the liberation of the Israelites from the reign of the false god, Pharoah, and the command of God that the Israelites remember their liberation specifically in a ritual meal context (even the menu is provided by law) that enables those who engage in the meal and know the story of liberation to remember it in such a way as to enter the original event and its saving context. With any law or ritual comes the risk, however, that the purpose of the remembering will be forgotten or the original salvation will be forgotten and it becomes “empty ritual” or law for its own sake rather than as a means of formation and liberation.
Exodus 3:11-20; Matthew 11:28-30
"This is what you shall tell the Israelites: I AM sent me to you."
"The Lord remembers his covenant for ever."
"Come to me, all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you."
I have to confess, that I sometimes find some aspects of life to be "burdensome." And there are those days when I feel "weary." I tell myself that it is no big deal. I know so many people who have to face burdens and relentless challenges I don't yet know. And whenever I'm tempted to some measure of self-pity, I'm reminded of the millions of people on this earth who live in unspeakable hardship.
Exodus 3:1-6, 9-12; Matthew 11:25-27
Have you had the experience of standing with a person, say a friend of many years, or before a familiar object, say a sculpture or a fountain or an aged tree, and suddenly seeing that person or that beautiful object as if for the first time? Or, more to the point, seeing the real presence of God right there, embodied before you, for the first time? It is as if the true person or being shines out through the familiar material reality. It is as if our hearts catch the burning of love communicating itself, for love is luminous and must communicate itself to the beloved.
Exodus 2:1-15a; Matthew 11:20-24
Today's gospel reading follows immediately on the passage in which Herod arrests and kills John the Baptist, and Jesus seems to somewhat suddenly take up the prophetic voice that John had used. There is more than a touch of anger in his words, and we can take them to be an accusation not only against these specific towns but against that whole generation and their rejection of John as well.
Jesus speaks of the signs and miracles, not only his own but also John's, that should have lead to conversion.
▪ In spite of the sunny days, the Pentecost celebration gathered a large group of faithful at St. Peter’s square for the Holy Mass presided by His Holiness Pope Francis. In his homily he underlined the attributes of the Holy Spirit urging all the believers to open up their hearts to the Holy Spirit who brings harmony, peace and unity. Further he said if we adopt the Spirit’s way of seeing things, then everything changes in our life so that we become people of joy and hope.
Exodus 1:8-14, 22; Matthew 10:34-11:1
Throughout Matthew’s gospel Jesus presents his main teachings through the use of sermons and discourses. There are five such gospel sections presenting Jesus’ teaching each of which is followed by events, miracle stories and incidents that highlight these teachings. The gospel reading today comes at the end of one of these discourses and centers on the preaching of the reign of God. Jesus has called the disciples into service and he prepares them for that service by sending them out to preach the reign of God to the people. This will not be an easy task he tells them, “What I am doing is sending you out like sheep among wolves.”
Deuteronomy 30:10-14; Colossians 1:15-20; Luke 10:25-37
The Gospel cannot happen in your head alone. You never think yourself into a new way of living. You invariably live yourself into a new way of thinking. The gospel is about relationship and lifestyle. Unless there is someplace on this earth where it’s happening between you and another person, I don’t believe you have any criterion to judge whether it’s happening at all. Unless you’re in right relationship with at least one other person on this earth, unless there is some place you can give and receive love, I don’t think you have any reason to think you’re living the gospel.
Many of us consider religious beliefs a private matter to be shared — if at all — only with our family and closest friends. We‘re afraid that in sharing religious convictions we might be setting ourselves up as “holier than thou.”
Today’s gospel challenges this attitude, “Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.” And earlier in the gospel Jesus exhorts his disciples to be witnesses to the world: “You are the light of the world. . . .Your light must shine before others so they may see goodness in your acts and give praise to your heavenly Father.”
Genesis 46:1-7, 28-30; Matthew 10:16-23
There is a marked contrast in today’s readings. In the first reading, Jacob is reunited with Joseph, his missing son. Jacob’s life is now complete, and he can die contentedly. Joseph has accomplished his mission of saving his family, the eventual Chosen People.
In the Gospel reading, Matthew is beginning his Missionary Discourse. After gathering his twelve disciples and missioning them to preach, exorcise, and heal the people of Israel, Jesus warns of hostility toward their efforts. He points out that there will be trials, divisions and betrayals within families, hatred and persecution. Tough stuff!
Thursday of the 14th Week in Ordinary Time - In Europe: Feast of St Benedict, Abbot, Patron of Europe
Saint Benedict: the zealous work of evangelization.
While the century had grown old in vice, while Italy and all Europe seemed to be a wretched theater for the life and death struggle of nations, and even the monastic discipline was weakened with worldliness and was not up to the task of resisting ..., Benedict proved the perennial youth of the Church by his outstanding sanctity and work; he restored morality by his teaching and example; he protected the sanctuary of religious life with safer and holier laws. Nor was that all; he and his followers reclaimed the uncultured tribes from their wild life to civic and Christian culture; directing them to the practice of virtue, industry and the peaceful arts and literature, he united them in the bonds of fraternal affection and charity...