DAILY MASS READINGS (August 20, 2018)

MEMORIAL OF ST. BERNARD, ABBOT AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH (YEAR II, White)

 

Reading 1 (EZEKIEL 24:15-23)

The word of the LORD came to me:
Son of man, by a sudden blow
I am taking away from you the delight of your eyes,
but do not mourn or weep or shed any tears.
Groan in silence, make no lament for the dead,
bind on your turban, put your sandals on your feet,
do not cover your beard, and do not eat the customary bread.
That evening my wife died,
and the next morning I did as I had been commanded.
Then the people asked me, “Will you not tell us what all these things
that you are doing mean for us?”
I therefore spoke to the people that morning, saying to them:
Thus the word of the LORD came to me:
Say to the house of Israel:
Thus says the Lord GOD:
I will now desecrate my sanctuary, the stronghold of your pride,
the delight of your eyes, the desire of your soul.
The sons and daughters you left behind shall fall by the sword.
Ezekiel shall be a sign for you:
all that he did you shall do when it happens.
Thus you shall know that I am the LORD.
You shall do as I have done,
not covering your beards nor eating the customary bread.
Your turbans shall remain on your heads, your sandals on your feet.
You shall not mourn or weep,
but you shall rot away because of your sins and groan one to another.

Responsorial Psalm (DEUTERONOMY 32:18-19, 20, 21)

R. (see 18a) You have forgotten God who gave you birth.
You were unmindful of the Rock that begot you.
You forgot the God who gave you birth.
When the LORD saw this, he was filled with loathing
and anger toward his sons and daughters.
R. You have forgotten God who gave you birth.
“I will hide my face from them,” he said,
“and see what will then become of them.
What a fickle race they are,
sons with no loyalty in them!”
R. You have forgotten God who gave you birth.
“Since they have provoked me with their ‘no-god’
and angered me with their vain idols,
I will provoke them with a ‘no-people’;
with a foolish nation I will anger them.”
R. You have forgotten God who gave you birth.

Alleluia (MATTHEW 5:3)

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are the poor in spirit;
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel (MATTHEW 19:16-22)

A young man approached Jesus and said,
“Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?”
He answered him, “Why do you ask me about the good?
There is only One who is good.
If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
He asked him, “Which ones?”
And Jesus replied, “You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
honor your father and your mother;
and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

The young man said to him,
“All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?”
Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go,
sell what you have and give to the poor,
and you will have treasure in heaven.
Then come, follow me.”
When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad,
for he had many possessions.
Reflection: The First Reading narrates how God has been fed up with the wickedness and stubbornness of his people. That is why he plans to abandon them in their sinfulness and allow the enemies to conquer the nation and desecrate his sanctuary. The Lord says that the people who have committed grave sins continuously shall not lament for one another, but rot for their sins. But the Prophet Ezekiel will be sign for the people to remind them of their devious acts against the Lord, so that they will have the chance to reform their former ways and live accordingly. So God is also a God of mercy who wills even the worst of sinners to experience conversion and live faithfully in his sight. The Gospel speaks about how we should truly rely on God, the greatest treasure of our lives. Despite so much earthly possessions we earn because of our hard work and most of it given to us by him, we should realize the fact that he gave them to us because what he wants in return is faith and commitment in him. The rich young man claimed to have observed the commandments for him to inherit eternal life, but when Jesus asked him to sell all he has and store treasures in heaven, he immediately left and fell away in a sad face. This was when Jesus proclaimed that a camel can easily pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. The eye of the needle is small, so it symbolizes the daily challenges and trials of life. It is also a call to discipleship, that we are to endure our daily crosses. We always think of becoming so rich and successful that we tens to forget the important things in life. When Christ asks us to sell our possessions in order to follow him, are we up for the challenge? It doesn’t literally mean to give up all you have, for the needs in life will help you in your daily routines. But because God gave you these material goods to live, we need to cling to him faithfullu for the spiritual things that can help us be faithful to him. And of course spiritual poverty is equal to humility, for Christ also became poor, humbling himself into our existence without committing since, and submitting himself to the Cross for our salvation. By this we also become poor in spirit, but rich in faith, hope, and love. St. Bernard of Clairvaux once said: “The true measure of loving God is to love him without measure.”

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