DAILY MASS READINGS (August 12, 2019)

MONDAY OF THE 19TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR I, Green)

Reading 1 (DEUTERONOMY 10:12-22)

A reading from the Book of Deuteronomy

Moses said to the people:
“And now, Israel, what does the LORD, your God, ask of you
but to fear the LORD, your God, and follow his ways exactly,
to love and serve the LORD, your God,
with all your heart and all your soul,
to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD
which I enjoin on you today for your own good?
Think! The heavens, even the highest heavens,
belong to the LORD, your God,
as well as the earth and everything on it.
Yet in his love for your fathers the LORD was so attached to them
as to choose you, their descendants,
in preference to all other peoples, as indeed he has now done.
Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and be no longer stiff-necked.
For the LORD, your God, is the God of gods,
the LORD of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome,
who has no favorites, accepts no bribes;
who executes justice for the orphan and the widow,
and befriends the alien, feeding and clothing him.
So you too must befriend the alien,
for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt.
The LORD, your God, shall you fear, and him shall you serve;
hold fast to him and swear by his name.
He is your glory, he, your God,
who has done for you those great and terrible things
which your own eyes have seen.
Your ancestors went down to Egypt seventy strong,
and now the LORD, your God,
has made you as numerous as the stars of the sky.”

– The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm (PSALM 147:12-13, 14-15, 19-20)

R. (12a) Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem;
praise your God, O Zion.
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates;
he has blessed your children within you.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
He has granted peace in your borders;
 with the best of wheat he fills you.
He sends forth his command to the earth;
swiftly runs his word!
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
He has proclaimed his word to Jacob,
his statutes and his ordinances to Israel.
He has not done thus for any other nation;
his ordinances he has not made known to them. Alleluia.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.

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)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew

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.”

– The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection: 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 Jews. 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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