Memorial of Saint Paul Miki and Companions, Martyrs




Memorial of Saint Paul Miki and Companions, Martyrs

Today’s Audio Mass Readings – Lectionary: 330

1st Reading – 1 KGS 8:22-23, 27-30

Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD
in the presence of the whole community of Israel,
and stretching forth his hands toward heaven,
he said, “LORD, God of Israel,
there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below;
you keep your covenant of mercy with your servants
who are faithful to you with their whole heart.

“Can it indeed be that God dwells on earth?
If the heavens and the highest heavens cannot contain you,
how much less this temple which I have built!
Look kindly on the prayer and petition of your servant, O LORD, my God,
and listen to the cry of supplication which I, your servant,
utter before you this day.
May your eyes watch night and day over this temple,
the place where you have decreed you shall be honored;
may you heed the prayer which I, your servant, offer in this place.
Listen to the petitions of your servant and of your people Israel
which they offer in this place.
Listen from your heavenly dwelling and grant pardon.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 84:3, 4, 5 AND 10, 11

R. (2) How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, mighty God!
My soul yearns and pines
for the courts of the LORD.
My heart and my flesh
cry out for the living God.
R. How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, mighty God!
Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest
in which she puts her young—
Your altars, O LORD of hosts,
my king and my God!
R. How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, mighty God!
Blessed they who dwell in your house!
continually they praise you.
O God, behold our shield,
and look upon the face of your anointed.
R. How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, mighty God!
I had rather one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I had rather lie at the threshold of the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
R. How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, mighty God!

Alleluia – PS 119:36, 29B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Incline my heart, O God, to your decrees;
and favor me with your law.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 7:1-13

When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem
gathered around Jesus,
they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals
with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands.
(For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews,
do not eat without carefully washing their hands,
keeping the tradition of the elders.
And on coming from the marketplace
they do not eat without purifying themselves.
And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed,
the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds.)
So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him,
“Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders
but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?”
He responded,
“Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites,
as it is written:

This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
In vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines human precepts.

You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”
He went on to say,
“How well you have set aside the commandment of God
in order to uphold your tradition!
For Moses said,
Honor your father and your mother,
and Whoever curses father or mother shall die.
Yet you say,
‘If someone says to father or mother,
“Any support you might have had from me is qorban”‘
(meaning, dedicated to God),
you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother.
You nullify the word of God
in favor of your tradition that you have handed on.
And you do many such things.”

Catholic Daily Reflections

The Danger of Hypocrisy

Saints Paul Miki and Companions, Martyrs – Memorial

“Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written:

‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts.’” Mark 7:6-8

Once again, Jesus spoke the hard truth that the Pharisees needed to hear. He told them directly that they were hypocrites and that they were the ones of whom Isaiah spoke in the quoted passage. It most certainly was a tense scene.

Setting aside the drama of the encounter, let’s look more clearly at the actual quote from Isaiah. It says four things:

  1. This people honors me with their lips.
  2. Their hearts are far from me.
  3. They worship in vain.
  4. They present their own human laws as if they were God’s.

What would the ideal transformation of these hypocritical errors look like? If the Pharisees were to completely change, what may Jesus say of them? Perhaps He would say the following:

  1. Your worship of me is holy because you truly embrace my divine will in your life.
  2. Therefore, the honor you give me with your lips flows from your pure heart of faith and love.

So what is the key message we should take from this for our own lives? We should take from it two simple facts. First, the will of God must take hold of our lives and become the basis and foundation of everything. His will, His law, His precepts are our rock foundation. God has established His truth as the basis of human life and we must strive to humbly embrace His law.

His law includes all publicly revealed teachings of our faith, found in Scripture and in the Church, and it includes all that we hear God speaking to us in our own lives. The Pharisees, in their lack of humility, could not see these truths. Instead, they held onto their own ideas and convictions alone. God chastised them harshly for this out of love.

Secondly, we should realize that when we embrace the divine law, and His particular will for our lives, we will be pure of heart and will be freed to love Him with outward expressions. We will worship Him from our hearts and this will flow through our words and actions. But this will never happen if we do not start with His divine law.

Reflect, today, upon whether or not you are willing to humbly embrace all of the truths that God has revealed and whether you are willing to make them the foundation of your life. If you do this, all else will flow forth in love and worship.

Lord, help me to love Your holy and divine law. Help me to embrace it with my whole heart. I do believe in You and in all that You have spoken through the ages. I believe in what You speak to my heart regarding my own life. Give me the grace to embrace Your holy will and, in that embrace, to be transformed both interiorly and exteriorly. Jesus, I trust in You.

Daily Catholic Readings App Download