DAILY MASS READINGS (August 17, 2019)


Reading 1 (JOSHUA 24:14-29)

A reading from the Book of Joshua

Joshua gathered together all the tribes of Israel at Shechem,
and addressed them, saying:
“Fear the LORD and serve him completely and sincerely.
Cast out the gods your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt,
and serve the LORD.
If it does not please you to serve the LORD,
decide today whom you will serve,
the gods your fathers served beyond the River
or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are dwelling.
As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

But the people answered, “Far be it from us to forsake the LORD
for the service of other gods.
For it was the LORD, our God,
who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt,
out of a state of slavery.
He performed those great miracles before our very eyes
and protected us along our entire journey and among all the peoples
through whom we passed.
At our approach the LORD drove out all the peoples,
including the Amorites who dwelt in the land.
Therefore we also will serve the LORD, for he is our God.”

Joshua in turn said to the people,
“You may not be able to serve the LORD, for he is a holy God;
he is a jealous God who will not forgive
your transgressions or your sins.
If, after the good he has done for you,
you forsake the LORD and serve strange gods,
he will do evil to you and destroy you.”

But the people answered Joshua, “We will still serve the LORD.”
Joshua therefore said to the people,
“You are your own witnesses that you have chosen to serve the LORD.”
They replied, “We are, indeed!”
Joshua continued:
“Now, therefore, put away the strange gods that are among you
and turn your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel.”
Then the people promised Joshua,
“We will serve the LORD, our God, and obey his voice.”

So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day
and made statutes and ordinances for them at Shechem,
which he recorded in the book of the law of God.
Then he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak
that was in the sanctuary of the LORD.
And Joshua said to all the people, “This stone shall be our witness,
for it has heard all the words which the LORD spoke to us.
It shall be a witness against you, should you wish to deny your God.”
Then Joshua dismissed the people, each to his own heritage.

After these events, Joshua, son of Nun, servant of the LORD,
died at the age of a hundred and ten.

– The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm (PSALM 16:1-2A AND 5, 7-8, 11)

R.(see 5a) You are my inheritance, O Lord.
Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge;
I say to the LORD, “My Lord are you.”
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.
I bless the LORD who counsels me;
even in the night my heart exhorts me.
I set the LORD ever before me;
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.
You will show me the path to life,
fullness of joys in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.

Alleluia (SEE MATTHEW 11:25)

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel (MATTHEW 19:13-15)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew

Children were brought to Jesus
that he might lay his hands on them and pray.
The disciples rebuked them, but Jesus said,
“Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them;
for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
After he placed his hands on them, he went away.

– The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection: The First Reading comes from Moses’s successor, Joshua, on the last years of his earthly life. After 40 years of exile and 430 years of Egyptian slavery, the Israelites finally reached the Promised Land and possessed it. Joshua gathered them in Shechem to remind them of the God who did great wonders in their midst. And the people of Israel assured him that only Yahweh will they worship, serve, and obey. He also reminded them not to do evil acts that might offend the Lord. And because of such, he made a covenant with them and took a large stone, placing it under the oak tree, which served a reminder to fulfill this covenant. And this is where Joshua’s ministry ends. This is why we need to be faithful to our Lord and his commandments. We observe them not to win praise, but in order to inspire others to live up their call as God’s adopted children, which has been given to us at the moment when we were baptized.
The Gospel today tells us of Jesus’s affecting approach on children. During those times, children are considered insignificant in society along with women. That is why the disciples tried to prevent the women from bringing the children to come to Jesus. But Christ told them to allow such to come near him, for they belong to God’s Kingdom. Remember during his Incarnation, he though divine in nature became a little child, born of the Virgin Mother. During his early life until he left Nazareth to begin the Paschal Mystery, he valued his time assisting Mama Mary and Saint Joseph, which showed that he was full of spirit and wisdom. Likewise Christ is reminding us that we must accept God’a children by becoming “childlike”, not “childish”. Because one who is childlike is obedient, kind, gentle of heart, compassionate, respectful, and humble. Even as Jesus obeyed his parents, he stayed at the Temple, the dwelling place of God, because he knew the importance of obeying and submitting to the Father’s will above all. And of course we need to teach the youth about those important values we have inherited and learned in becoming childlike, even though we are in the midst of a technological advancing society. Lastly, let us value family life, whether we are parents or children of our parents.

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