DAILY MASS READINGS (August 27, 2018)

MEMORIAL OF ST. MONICA (YEAR II, White)

 

Reading 1 (2 THESSALONIANS 1:1-5, 11-12)

A reading from the 2nd Letter of St. Paul to the Thessalonians

Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy to the Church of the Thessalonians
in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.

We ought to thank God always for you, brothers and sisters,
as is fitting, because your faith flourishes ever more,
and the love of every one of you for one another grows ever greater.
Accordingly, we ourselves boast of you in the churches of God
regarding your endurance and faith in all your persecutions
and the afflictions you endure.

This is evidence of the just judgment of God,
so that you may be considered worthy of the Kingdom of God
for which you are suffering.

We always pray for you,
that our God may make you worthy of his calling
and powerfully bring to fulfillment every good purpose
and every effort of faith,
that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you,
and you in him,
in accord with the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ.

– The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm (PSALM 96:1-2A, 2B-3, 4-5)

R. (3) Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name.
R. Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R. Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
For great is the LORD and highly to be praised;
awesome is he, beyond all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are things of nought,
but the LORD made the heavens.
R. Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.

Alleluia(JOHN 10:27)

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord;
I know them, and they follow me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel (MATTHEW 23:13-22)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew

Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You lock the Kingdom of heaven before men.
You do not enter yourselves,
nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You traverse sea and land to make one convert,
and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna
twice as much as yourselves.

“Woe to you, blind guides, who say,
‘If one swears by the temple, it means nothing,
but if one swears by the gold of the temple, one is obligated.’
Blind fools, which is greater, the gold,
or the temple that made the gold sacred?
And you say, ‘If one swears by the altar, it means nothing,
but if one swears by the gift on the altar, one is obligated.’
You blind ones, which is greater, the gift,
or the altar that makes the gift sacred?
One who swears by the altar swears by it and all that is upon it;
one who swears by the temple swears by it
and by him who dwells in it;
one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God
and by him who is seated on it.”

– The Gospel of the Lord.
Reflection: Last Saturday (August 25), we heard how Jesus began denouncing the scribes and Pharisees because of their hypocrisies and self-righteousness. Today, he continues to reproach them by exposing how they show to their fellow Jews how they are more deserving. Even if they have strong relationship with God, they only focus on the gifts and treasures offered on the altar, and not the altar itself. This is the test of our identity as Catholic Christians. We may think that money is the sole item that can satisfy one person, but no really. We tend to purchase many items at malls, department stores, etc., and we spend a lot. But when we offer our money to the Church, we may think the priests are just using them for self-interest and enjoyment (Well the fact is some of them sadly do for their own purposes). Sometimes or most of the time, we don’t see the reality that as we offer, we also help in the improvement of the services of the Church and the continuous support of the pastoral activities such as the electric bill, improvement of speakers, building charitable institutions for the poor, etc. On the other hand, some of us may think that we are more deserving than others. Yes, we give money during Offertory to support the Church, but where is the heart of our offering? Do we do this just to make others jealous or boast of how large the amount we give? In other cases, when we commit to devote ourselves to practice our beloved Catholic faith, we would attend Mass, pray the Rosary, recite Novenas, serve in the Church, etc. Yet as we do these things to make ourselves closer to the Lord, we should also bring others closely to him not by boasting and destructive criticism, but by showing a good example and doing kind and humble acts towards them. Saint Paul begins his second epistle to the Thessalonian community, exhorting us to be worthy of the calling God gave us because of the grace he granted to us through his Only Begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. And if we live the calling and mission he entrusted us, then we will inherit the glory of his Kingdom in Heaven one day. St. Monica throughout her life lived a faithful life, especially by praying for the conversion of her husband Patricius and her son, who would later be the great Bishop of Hippo, St. Augustine. Augustine in his Confessions would always mention how his ministry services in the Church are inspired by his mother’s love and prayers. May we follow the example of St. Monica of living a humble and faithful life before the Lord and always practice goodness and kindness to others, especially praying for the conversion of sinners.

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