Saturday, August 24, 2019

Friday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time – Year B

Friday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Today’s Audio Mass Readings – Lectionary: 393

1st Reading – IS 38:1-6, 21-22, 7-8

When Hezekiah was mortally ill,
the prophet Isaiah, son of Amoz, came and said to him:
“Thus says the LORD: Put your house in order,
for you are about to die; you shall not recover.”
Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD:

“O LORD, remember how faithfully and wholeheartedly
I conducted myself in your presence,
doing what was pleasing to you!”
And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah: “Go, tell Hezekiah:
Thus says the LORD, the God of your father David:
I have heard your prayer and seen your tears.
I will heal you: in three days you shall go up to the LORD’s temple;
I will add fifteen years to your life.
I will rescue you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria;
I will be a shield to this city.”

Isaiah then ordered a poultice of figs to be taken
and applied to the boil, that he might recover.
Then Hezekiah asked,
“What is the sign that I shall go up to the temple of the LORD?”

Isaiah answered:
“This will be the sign for you from the LORD
that he will do what he has promised:
See, I will make the shadow cast by the sun
on the stairway to the terrace of Ahaz
go back the ten steps it has advanced.”
So the sun came back the ten steps it had advanced.

Responsorial Psalm – ISAIAH 38:10, 11, 12ABCD, 16

R. (see 17b) You saved my life, O Lord; I shall not die.
Once I said,
“In the noontime of life I must depart!
To the gates of the nether world I shall be consigned
for the rest of my years.”
R. You saved my life, O Lord; I shall not die.
I said, “I shall see the LORD no more
in the land of the living.
No longer shall I behold my fellow men
among those who dwell in the world.”
R. You saved my life, O Lord; I shall not die.
My dwelling, like a shepherd’s tent,
is struck down and borne away from me;
You have folded up my life, like a weaver
who severs the last thread.
R. You saved my life, O Lord; I shall not die.
Those live whom the LORD protects;
yours is the life of my spirit.
You have given me health and life.
R. You saved my life, O Lord; I shall not die.

Alleluia – JN 10:27

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord;
I know them, and they follow me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 12:1-8

Jesus was going through a field of grain on the sabbath.
His disciples were hungry
and began to pick the heads of grain and eat them.
When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him,
“See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the sabbath.”
He said to the them, “Have you not read what David did
when he and his companions were hungry,
how he went into the house of God and ate the bread of offering,
which neither he nor his companions
but only the priests could lawfully eat?
Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath
the priests serving in the temple violate the sabbath
and are innocent?
I say to you, something greater than the temple is here.
If you knew what this meant, I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
you would not have condemned these innocent men.
For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath.”

Catholic Daily Reflections

I Desire Mercy

Saint Apollinaris, Bishop and Martyr

“If you knew what this meant, I desire mercy, not sacrifice, you would not have condemned these innocent men.” Matthew 12:7

The Apostles of Jesus were hungry and they picked heads of grain as they walk along to satisfy their hunger. As a result, the Pharisees condemned the Apostles for doing what they claimed was “unlawful” on the Sabbath. They claimed that picking heads of grain as they walked along was considered “work” and, thus, they violated the law requiring rest on the Sabbath.

Really? Did the Pharisees seriously think that the Apostles sinned by picking grain as they walked along to satisfy their hunger? Hopefully it’s not hard for us to see the absurdity and irrationality of this condemnation. The Apostles did nothing wrong but were condemned nonetheless. They were “innocent men” as Jesus points out.

Jesus responds to the irrationality of the Pharisees by reminding them of the Scripture, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” And He points out that the Apostles were wrongly condemned because the Pharisees do not understand this passage and this command from God for mercy.

The Sabbath commandment to rest was from God. But the commandment to rest was not a requirement for its own sake. This was not some legal requirement that somehow honored God just by strictly keeping it. The Sabbath rest was primarily a gift from God to humanity in that God knew we needed rest and rejuvenation. He knew we needed time each week to slow down, offer special worship to God and enjoy the company of others. But the Pharisees turned the Sabbath rest into a burden. They made it out to be a strict legalistic observance that did nothing to glorify God or refresh the human spirit.

One key truth we can learn from this passage is that God calls us to interpret His law through the eyes of mercy. Mercy always refreshes us, lifts us up and fills us with new energy. It motivates us to worship and fills us with hope. Mercy does not impose a heavy legalistic burden upon us; rather, God’s mercy and law together rejuvenates us and refreshes us.

Reflect, today, upon how you look at God’s commands and His law. Do you see it as a legalistic and burdensome requirement? Or do you see it as a blessing of God’s mercy meant to lighten your load?

Lord, help me to love Your law. Help me to truly see it in the light of Your mercy and grace. May I be refreshed by all You command and be lifted up by Your will. Jesus, I trust in You.

Our Audio Catholic Daily Readings are sourced from USCCB 

Daily Catholic Readings App Download

About Laban Thua 1020 Articles
I am a Commissioned Liturgy Minister and also a Lector at Assumption of Mary Catholic Church. Am also a Commissioned Catholic Men Association (CMA), Member and a Lover of the Catholic Church and its teachings. My passion is disseminating the Catholic Daily Readings and Reflections, Bible Verse of the Day, Catholic Quote of the Day and Catholic Saint of the Day Information every day to all Catholic Faithfuls throughout the world.