DAILY MASS READINGS (August 8, 2018)


Reading 1 (JEREMIAH 31:1-7)

At that time, says the LORD,
I will be the God of all the tribes of Israel,
and they shall be my people.
Thus says the LORD:
The people that escaped the sword
have found favor in the desert.
As Israel comes forward to be given his rest,
the LORD appears to him from afar:
With age-old love I have loved you;
so I have kept my mercy toward you.
Again I will restore you, and you shall be rebuilt,
O virgin Israel;
Carrying your festive tambourines,
you shall go forth dancing with the merrymakers.
Again you shall plant vineyards
on the mountains of Samaria;
those who plant them shall enjoy the fruits.
Yes, a day will come when the watchmen
will call out on Mount Ephraim:
“Rise up, let us go to Zion,
to the LORD, our God.”

For thus says the LORD:
Shout with joy for Jacob,
exult at the head of the nations;
proclaim your praise and say:
The LORD has delivered his people,
the remnant of Israel.

Responsorial Psalm (JEREMIAH 31:10, 11-12AB, 13)

R. (see 10d) The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.
Hear the word of the LORD, O nations,
proclaim it on distant isles, and say:
He who scattered Israel, now gathers them together,
he guards them as a shepherd his flock.
R. The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.
The LORD shall ransom Jacob,
he shall redeem him from the hand of his conqueror.
Shouting, they shall mount the heights of Zion,
they shall come streaming to the LORD’s blessings.
R. The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.
Then the virgins shall make merry and dance,
and young men and old as well.
I will turn their mourning into joy.
I will console and gladden them after their sorrows.
R. The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.

Alleluia (LUKE 7:16)

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A great prophet has arisen in our midst
and God has visited his people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel (MATTHEW 15: 21-28)

At that time Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out,
“Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David!
My daughter is tormented by a demon.”
But he did not say a word in answer to her.
His disciples came and asked him,
“Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.”
He said in reply,
“I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
But the woman came and did him homage, saying, “Lord, help me.”
He said in reply,
“It is not right to take the food of the children
and throw it to the dogs.”
She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps
that fall from the table of their masters.”
Then Jesus said to her in reply,
“O woman, great is your faith!
Let it be done for you as you wish.”
And her daughter was healed from that hour.
Reflection: The Lord God through the Prophet Jeremiah in the First Reading speaks of the restoration of Israel with age old love. Even though he has allowed destruction from the enemies of the nation because of the sinfulness of people, still he reveals his love to old but also infinite. This prophesies the union of Judah and Israel into one kingdom, wherein the scattered people will all be united as one nation under one Lord. This prefigures the mission of the Church to gather the scattered people who are afar from the Lord into the fold wherein both the Jews and non-Jews can worship one Lord and be kind and generous to one another. The Gospel speaks of the Lord’s mercy shown in the expulsion of a demon out of the Canaanite woman’s daughter. During those times, the Jews believed that only they will inherit God’s promise of salvation, and not even one outsider of Israel (aka Gentiles). Ever since the Persian rule, Judah returned from Babylon to unify Israel and worship Yahweh, while the Israel of Jeroboam remained in a nearby territory and lived the Assyrian practices and cultures; thus they worshipped pagan gods. But here Jesus comes to the aid of this pleading woman. Yet he was quite silent because he was testing her faith. The woman replied that the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table. This statement made Christ to declare that the demon had gone out of her daughter. The representation here is how the Gentiles strayed from God’s fold after the Assyrian exile. That is why the Jews accepted the commandments and the word with faith. Yet this foreign woman recognizes the need for the Gentiles to receive God’s love and mercy because it was meant for all who believe just like her. And even there the Lord’s mercy has been revealed. If the Lord has revealed his mercy in the past, then it is always enduring forever because it’s made present to those who give witness to it, despite every restriction in life. Let us also become witnesses to others and open our hearts to help those in need physically and spiritually.

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