DAILY MASS READINGS (August 13, 2018)



Reading 1 (EZEKIEL 1:2-5, 24-28C)

On the fifth day of the fourth month of the fifth year,
that is, of King Jehoiachin’s exile,
The word of the LORD came to the priest Ezekiel,
the son of Buzi,
in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar.—
There the hand of the LORD came upon me.

As I looked, a stormwind came from the North,
a huge cloud with flashing fire enveloped in brightness,
from the midst of which (the midst of the fire)
something gleamed like electrum.
Within it were figures resembling four living creatures
that looked like this: their form was human.

Then I heard the sound of their wings,
like the roaring of mighty waters,
like the voice of the Almighty.
When they moved, the sound of the tumult was like the din of an army.
And when they stood still, they lowered their wings.

Above the firmament over their heads
something like a throne could be seen,
looking like sapphire.
Upon it was seated, up above, one who had the appearance of a man.
Upward from what resembled his waist I saw what gleamed like electrum;
downward from what resembled his waist I saw what looked like fire;
he was surrounded with splendor.
Like the bow which appears in the clouds on a rainy day
was the splendor that surrounded him.
Such was the vision of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm (PSALM 148:1-2, 11-12, 13, 14)

R. Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.
R. Alleluia.
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
praise him in the heights;
Praise him, all you his angels;
praise him, all you his hosts.
R. Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.
R. Alleluia.
Let the kings of the earth and all peoples,
the princes and all the judges of the earth,
Young men too, and maidens,
old men and boys,
R. Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.
R. Alleluia.
Praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted;
His majesty is above earth and heaven.
R. Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.
R. Alleluia.
And he has lifted up the horn of his people.
Be this his praise from all his faithful ones,
from the children of Israel, the people close to him.
R. Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia (SEE 2 THESSALONIANS 2:14)

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God has called you through the Gospel
To possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel (MATTHEW 17:22-27)

As Jesus and his disciples were gathering in Galilee,
Jesus said to them,
“The Son of Man is to be handed over to men,
and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.”
And they were overwhelmed with grief.

When they came to Capernaum,
the collectors of the temple tax approached Peter and said,
“Does not your teacher pay the temple tax?”
“Yes,” he said.
When he came into the house, before he had time to speak,
Jesus asked him, “What is your opinion, Simon?
From whom do the kings of the earth take tolls or census tax?
From their subjects or from foreigners?”
When he said, “From foreigners,” Jesus said to him,
“Then the subjects are exempt.
But that we may not offend them, go to the sea, drop in a hook,
and take the first fish that comes up.
Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax.
Give that to them for me and for you.”

Reflection: The First Reading takes us to 500 years before Christ through the ministry of the Prophet Ezekiel. It is at the time of the Babylonian captivity when Ezekiel began his prophetic role. He sees a vision of a cloud gleaming like an electrum that showed four living creatures. And then comes one described to have an appearance of a man, meaning “son of man”, seeated on the glorious throne. This person in glory is surrounded with many splendor, which shows the vision of the Lord’s glory. The vision of Ezekiel depicts our Lord Jesus Christ who after his earthly merits through his Passion and Death has already attained authority over all creation, that the promise of eternal life may be granted to people who are faithful to the Father’s will. The Gospel reminds us of our livelihood as true Christians. St. Matthew pictures the role of tax collectors to be “sinners and traitors” according to the Jewish standards. Sinners because they cheat and traitors because they work for the Romans. No wonder the Pharisees, scribes, and other Jewish leaders would exempt themselves from paying the census tax. Temple tax collectors ask Peter if Jesus observes this obligation. But Christ even if he is the promised Messiah does this not only because it is accustomed, but also because a true Christian must do good deeds that will please the Lord, especially towards the relationship with other people. That is why he asked Peter to catch a fish, so that a coin worth two drachmas may be used in performing this obligation. For in fact Jesus called this Evangelist from a tax collector into an Apostle. He reminded the Pharisees that he the spiritual doctor has come to call sinners to conversion. And in the beginning of the Gospel passage, he predicted his Paschal Mystery for a second time. It shows his eagerness to obey the divine will by performing the greatest act for our salvation, so that our sins may be repaid by his sacrificial love on the Cross. In the same way, a Christian proclaims that without Christ, you are nothing. Because it is in Christ that he taught us how to love and serve one another in kindness, justice, truthfulness, and peace, and love. Especially when we have to observe our obligations in life, we should do them not because we are being forced, but that we know what is right and pleasing before the Lord. And if we truly love God, then we should show it towards our ordinary and extraordinary encounters with other people.

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