DAILY MASS READINGS (July 19, 2018)

THURSDAY OF THE 15TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR II, Green)

 

Reading 1 (ISAIAH 26:7-9, 12, 16-19)

The way of the just is smooth;
the path of the just you make level.
Yes, for your way and your judgments, O LORD,
we look to you;
Your name and your title
are the desire of our souls.
My soul yearns for you in the night,
yes, my spirit within me keeps vigil for you;
When your judgment dawns upon the earth,
the world’s inhabitants learn justice.
O LORD, you mete out peace to us,
for it is you who have accomplished all we have done.O LORD, oppressed by your punishment,
we cried out in anguish under your chastising.
As a woman about to give birth
writhes and cries out in her pains,
so were we in your presence, O LORD.
We conceived and writhed in pain,
giving birth to wind;
Salvation we have not achieved for the earth,
the inhabitants of the world cannot bring it forth.
But your dead shall live, their corpses shall rise;
awake and sing, you who lie in the dust.
For your dew is a dew of light,
and the land of shades gives birth.

Responsorial Psalm (PSALM 102:13-14AB AND 15, 16-18, 19-21)

R. (20b) From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.
You, O LORD, abide forever,
and your name through all generations.
You will arise and have mercy on Zion,
for it is time to pity her.
For her stones are dear to your servants,
and her dust moves them to pity.
R. From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.
The nations shall revere your name, O LORD,
and all the kings of the earth your glory,
When the LORD has rebuilt Zion
and appeared in his glory;
When he has regarded the prayer of the destitute,
and not despised their prayer.
R. From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.
Let this be written for the generation to come,
and let his future creatures praise the LORD:
“The LORD looked down from his holy height,
from heaven he beheld the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoners,
to release those doomed to die.”
R. From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.

Alleluia (MATTHEW 11:28)

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel (MATTHEW 11:28-30)

Jesus said:
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
Reflection: In the First Reading (Isaiah 26:7-9, 12, 16-19), we see a God who is gracious and merciful over our physical and spiritual afflictions in life. When we undergo the trials and sufferings of life, the Lord comes to us as Isaiah compares to a child that is being taken care by the mother. It is this God who makes our ways smooth and our paths level because of our just way of living. Our perseverance shows how we continue to trust in him despite all pains and trials, and our continuous longing for his love will draw us closer to eternal comfort in Heaven. How many of us are familiar with the song “Lift Up Your Hands To God”? This song is both sung by Basil Valdez and Gary Valenciano in two separate renditions. The Chorus part echoes today’s Gospel (Matthew 11:28-30). Jesus invites us who are weary and tired of life’s trials and challenges to come to him, so that he can give us rest. However, this doesn’t mean that he can help us make our lives easier. What he offers us is a yoke, and according to Jews, it is a symbol of obedience. So the yoke of Jesus is being obedient to the will of God the Father. We all want to escape the problems and burdens in life because they seem big, but what does God have in store for us? He wants us to endure them not because he makes them, but because there is something good waiting for us, and that is the rest of our body and soul. We get tired almost everyday because of school and/or work. That is why the Lord asks us to surrender these to him daily afterwards. And each morning we should also ask him thank him that we are alive and to guide us in whatever challenge awaits. This is done when the Church prays its traditional Lauds (morning) and Vespers (evening). So as we journey down this road, may the Lord be our source and strength to undergo the large trials that burden us and always embrace his yoke to do his will and to rest ourselves. Let me end this reflection by quoting the lyrics of the song I mentioned above:
“Life is not all that bad my friend, hmmm…
If you believe in yourself, if you believe there’s someone
who walks through life with you,
you’ll never be alone, just learn to reach out,
and open our heart.
Lift up your hands to God, and He’ll show you the way.And He said, ‘Cast your burdens upon Me,
those who are heavily laden.
Come to Me, all of you who are tired
of carrying heavy loads.
For the yoke I will give you is easy,
and My burden is light.
Come to Me, and I will give you rest.’

When you feel the world is tumbling down on you,
and you have no one that you can hold on to;
just face the rising sun, and you’ll see hope,
and there’s no need to run.
Lift up your hands to God, and He’ll make you feel alright.
And He said, ‘Cast your burdens upon Me,
those who are heavily laden.
Come to Me, all of you who are tired
of carrying heavy loads.
For the yoke I will give you is easy,
and My burden is light.
Come to Me, and I will give you rest.'”

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