DAILY MASS READINGS (June 19, 2019)

WEDNESDAY OF THE 11TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR I, Green)

Reading 1 (2 CORINTHIANS 9:6-11)

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

Brothers and sisters, consider this:
whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly,
and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion,
for God loves a cheerful giver.
Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you,
so that in all things, always having all you need,
you may have an abundance for every good work.
As it is written:

He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.

The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food
will supply and multiply your seed
and increase the harvest of your righteousness.

You are being enriched in every way for all generosity,
which through us produces thanksgiving to God.

– The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm (PSALM 112:1BC-2, 3-4, 9)

R.(1b) Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Blessed the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commands.
His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth;
the upright generation shall be blessed.
R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Wealth and riches shall be in his house;
his generosity shall endure forever.
Light shines through the darkness for the upright;
he is gracious and merciful and just.
R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Lavishly he gives to the poor;
his generosity shall endure forever;
his horn shall be exalted in glory.
R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia (JOHN 14:23)

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him
and we will come to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel (MATTHEW 6:1-6, 16-18)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Take care not to perform righteous deeds
in order that people may see them;
otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.
When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you,
as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets
to win the praise of others.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you give alms,
do not let your left hand know what your right is doing,
so that your almsgiving may be secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites,
who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners
so that others may see them.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door,
and pray to your Father in secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites.
They neglect their appearance,
so that they may appear to others to be fasting.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,
so that you may not appear to others to be fasting,
except to your Father who is hidden.
And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”

– The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection: The Gospel for today is the same Gospel read every time we start our Lenten journey with Ash Wednesday. The Season of Lent invites us to renewal and self-denial in preparation for the commemoration of the Paschal Mystery of Christ on Holy Week and Easter Time through three forms of penance: (1) Fasting, (2) Prayer, and (3) Almsgiving. Now that the paschal celebrations have ended last June 4, 2017 (Pentecost Sunday), we are now challenged to live the practices in the ordinary times and seasons. Jesus mentioned in the passage about these three acts, which are also the three pillars of Judaism, but what he noticed is how the Jewish leaders observe them, making themselves more worthy in God’s eyes than their fellow citizens. That is why he gives this warning not to follow them, but rather to do these acts in private, as if only God knows. Privacy does not refer to hidden hands, but to the heart, since it is an organ located inside our human bodies. The Lord knows our motives in doing righteous deeds, but once we do them to win the praise of others, we are like declaring ourselves more deserving than others. No wonder Saint Paul said: “We know a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified” (Galatians 2:16). What the Apostle means by ‘works of the law’ is the traditions, rituals, and prayers of his former religion, Judaism. Likewise in our religion, Christianity, it is not enough to say that we go to church on Sundays, pray the novenas, join processions, etc., if we don’t manifest these devotions of our faith in our everyday lives. What is worse is hypocrisy, wherein we do observe these things, but we do evil things to others. The Apostle Saint John the Beloved continues reminding us: “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20). So as we journey down this road, may we observe these practices of our faith with a humble and sincere heart.

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