Reading 1 (JEREMIAH 2:1-3, 7-8, 12-13)

This word of the LORD came to me:
Go, cry out this message for Jerusalem to hear!

I remember the devotion of your youth,
how you loved me as a bride,
Following me in the desert,
in a land unsown.
Sacred to the LORD was Israel,
the first fruits of his harvest;
Should any presume to partake of them,
evil would befall them, says the LORD.

When I brought you into the garden land
to eat its goodly fruits,
You entered and defiled my land,
you made my heritage loathsome.
The priests asked not,
“Where is the LORD?”
Those who dealt with the law knew me not:
the shepherds rebelled against me.
The prophets prophesied by Baal,
and went after useless idols.

Be amazed at this, O heavens,
and shudder with sheer horror, says the LORD.
Two evils have my people done:
they have forsaken me, the source of living waters;
They have dug themselves cisterns,
broken cisterns, that hold no water.

Responsorial Psalm (PSALM 36:6-7AB, 8-9, 10-11)

R. (10a) With you is the fountain of life, O Lord.
O LORD, your mercy reaches to heaven;
your faithfulness, to the clouds.
Your justice is like the mountains of God;
your judgments, like the mighty deep.
R. With you is the fountain of life, O Lord.
How precious is your mercy, O God!
The children of men take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They have their fill of the prime gifts of your house;
from your delightful stream you give them to drink.
R. With you is the fountain of life, O Lord.
For with you is the fountain of life,
and in your light we see light.
Keep up your mercy toward your friends,
your just defense of the upright of heart.
R. With you is the fountain of life, O Lord.

Alleluia (SEE MATTHEW 11:25)

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel (MATTHEW 13:10-17)

The disciples approached Jesus and said,
“Why do you speak to the crowd in parables?”
He said to them in reply,
“Because knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven
has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted.
To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich;
from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
This is why I speak to them in parables, because
they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.
Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says:

You shall indeed hear but not understand,
you shall indeed look but never see.
Gross is the heart of this people,
they will hardly hear with their ears,
they have closed their eyes,
lest they see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their hearts and be converted
and I heal them.

“But blessed are your eyes, because they see,
and your ears, because they hear.
Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people
longed to see what you see but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”

Reflection: Matthew 13 lists many parables of our Lord Jesus Christ especially about the Kingdom of Heaven, though the original source, Saint Mark, only listed 4. According to the commentary of the New American Bible on Matthew 13:3, the word “parable” comes from the Greek term ‘parabole’ and the Hebrew term ‘mashal,’ which means “a wide variety of literary forms such as axioms, proverbs, similitudes, and allegories”. Now why does Christ teach using such parables? 700 years before his time, the Old Testament prophets have been proclaiming about the time of God’s Kingdom being fulfilled. Their message is repentance and devout livelihood. But the people especially the leaders rejected such messengers, assuming them to be hallucinators. So the prophets of God were persecuted and killed, like Jeremiah who was arrested by the monarchs and religious of Israel and Judah as a captive in Babylon. In fact the First Reading narrates the Lord’s disappointment for the blasphemy and unfaithfulness committed by the two nations. Now comes our Lord Jesus Christ in the fullness of time. He doesn’t only speak to crowds plainly, but also uses figures and symbols, also known as parables, to describe the mysteries of the Kingdom. He could see the fulfillment of Isaiah 6:9-10, as how the people heard and saw God’s message, but they refused to believe. Now as for Jesus’ disciples, he calls them blessed because from the time he called them, they have been with him and continued believing in him, which will strengthen their mission for the Church. And those who understood the message of these parables come from the lowly and humble peripheries, although the wise and learned at his time refer to the Jewish leaders who think they have heard God’s word, but in reality have blinded themselves by declaring to be more righteous than their fellow citizens. Christ was arrested, condemned, insulted, and crucified, but he rose again after three days, then took his seat at the right hand of the Most High forty days thereafter. The message of the Good News has a very great impact to us Christians. The parables teach us that what God has in store does not only lie in this world, but in the next, which is the after life (Heaven). So as we journey down this road, may we always heed God’s word, accept it’s message, and manifest its values in our daily lives.

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