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Gospel August 30, 2020

The First Reading is from the Prophet Jeremiah. This reading is part of Jeremiah’s well-known complaint. Jeremiah didn't want to be a prophet, a spokesperson for God; but God chose him. That fidelity to his vocation to prophesy for the Lord makes him miserable. The king and priests reject his pleas for conversion and declare unpatriotic his announcements of the fall of Judah to the Babylonians. Jeremiah does not enjoy being the “object of laughter” and having “everyone mock him.” 

Gospel August 23, 2020

The first reading, taken from Isaiah, gives a detailed description of the investiture of a royal court official. The robe, the sash, and the keys are insignia of this office. The Lord God, through Isaiah, tells Shebna who supports Israel’s military alliance with one pagan nation (Egypt) against another (Assyria) that the keys of authority will be taken away from him, the unfaithful, proud “master of the royal palace.”

Gospel, August 16, 2020

The First Reading is from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. As Isaiah writes these words in chapters 56-66 during the post-exilic period of Israel’s history (their exile in Babylon, 587-540 B.C.E.), there are lots of foreigners living in Israel. Many Jews, including the leaders, consider such people as outsiders and resist their joining in the worship services even though they are willing to accept the God of Israel and follow his ways. Isaiah challenges such a parochial and narrow mentality. Therefore, the prophet is telling everyone that God accepts all those who are willing to follow God's laws with sincerity and purity of heart. Non-Jews must “love the name of the Lord, become his servants, observe Sabbath, hold to God’s covenant,” then they must be welcomed into God’s house of prayer for ‘God’s house is for all peoples.’”

Gospel August 2, 2020

The First Reading is from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. After 70 years of exile, some of the Israelite captives begin to grow accustomed to the Babylonian way of life. Some captives spent their money for “what is not bread,” and wages for “what fails to satisfy.” Some are seeking life from sources other than the one God. Such searching will end in emptiness and futility.

Gospel July 26, 2020

The first reading is from the first Book of kings. Salomon, who recently ascended the throne of David, describes himself as a “mere youth.” The Hebrew word of youth or child, na’ar, denotes in this context a young adult who lacks experience in a job. Solomon is new to leadership. God asks Solomon what gift he desires most of all? He answers: “Wisdom and understanding heart.” In Israelite tradition, wisdom has to do with having the ability to attain success in any field of endeavor. Solomon illustrates this very well as he flourishes in governance, in construction, in foreign trade and diplomacy, and in writing proverbs. God gives Solomon wisdom and a discerning heart.

Gospel July 19, 2020

Today’s first reading is from the Book of Wisdom which was probably written between 30 BC and AD 14, making it the latest work in the Old Testament. The goal of the author, a Greek-speaking Jew, is to defend Judaism against the pervasive influence of Hellenism (Greek pagan philosophies). This reading therefore affirms Israel’s hard-learned belief that their God is the almighty and only God. Though God is all-powerful, he uses his power to show mercy and clemency. God who is just and righteous is able to offer leniency toward all people. The people of Israel discover this from the way God treats them. That God is merciful, gracious, and slow to anger” becomes part of its creed.  

Gospel July 12, 2020

 

 

Today’s first reading is from a prophet called Second Isaiah who worked in Babylon in the sixth century BC and whose oracles are found in Isaiah 40-45. The word of God again plays a particularly important sacramental role in this reading. The Hebrew word dabar is translated as a spoken word as well as deed. Throughout salvation history both word and deed reveal the heart and mind of God. The word and actions of God are like the rain and snow that water the earth and provide the necessary wetness for life to continue. God’s Word does not return back to him void but achieves the end for which he sent it.

Gospel July 5, 2020

The First Reading is from the Book of the Prophet Zechariah. These verses are chosen for this Sunday because they describe a meek –not easily provoked- and humble Messiah, which Jesus is. Zechariah preached about the great battle that would take place between the forces of God and forces of evil. Rather than the machine of war (chariots and horses), this king of peace will come riding on a donkey, a sign of the reign of peace. This king of peace will reunite the northern kingdom, Israel and the southern kingdom, Judah. The rule of this just king is to extend to all nations, including that of the gentiles.

Gospel June 28, 2020

The First Reading is from the Second Book of Kings. This reading is about the hospitality scripture par excellence. The woman in today’s reading is incredible. As a wealthy and influential woman from Shunem offers the prophet Elisha the hospitality of meals, a bed, a lamp, and a chair on a regular basis. It seems that the prophet has a special place in the home and heart of this woman since Elijah is a man of God. A man who speaks the Word of God. Hospitality in the scripture is a sacred duty. Therefore, her hospitality to the prophet is rewarded by the promise of a son she and her husband have been longing for.

Gospel June 21, 2020

The First Reading is from the Prophet Jeremiah who has often been called a “reluctant” prophet. He was always trying to run away from God because he did not want to be a prophet. Once Jeremiah says ‘Yes’ to God’s call, he speaks what he feels God wants him to say. His message is about repentance of infidelity to their covenant with God. His preaching angers the religious and civil leaders and his own people. Therefore, today’s reading is an excerpt from what is called the “Confessions of Jeremiah” – a revelation of the personal anguish the prophet experiences in his soul as he carries out his ministry. “But the LORD is with me, like a mighty champion: my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph.”