DAILY MASS READINGS (August 21, 2019)

MEMORIAL OF ST. PIUS X, POPE (YEAR I, White)

Reading 1 (JUDGES 9:6-15)

A reading from the Book of Judges

All the citizens of Shechem and all Beth-millo came together
and proceeded to make Abimelech king
by the terebinth at the memorial pillar in Shechem.

When this was reported to him,
Jotham went to the top of Mount Gerizim and, standing there,
cried out to them in a loud voice:
“Hear me, citizens of Shechem, that God may then hear you!
Once the trees went to anoint a king over themselves.
So they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us.’
But the olive tree answered them, ‘Must I give up my rich oil,
whereby men and gods are honored,
and go to wave over the trees?’
Then the trees said to the fig tree, ‘Come; you reign over us!’
But the fig tree answered them,
‘Must I give up my sweetness and my good fruit,
and go to wave over the trees?’
Then the trees said to the vine, ‘Come you, and reign over us.’
But the vine answered them,
‘Must I give up my wine that cheers gods and men,
and go to wave over the trees?’
Then all the trees said to the buckthorn, ‘Come; you reign over us!’
But the buckthorn replied to the trees,
‘If you wish to anoint me king over you in good faith,
come and take refuge in my shadow.
Otherwise, let fire come from the buckthorn
and devour the cedars of Lebanon.'”

– The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm (PSALM 21:2-3, 4-5, 6-7)

R.(2a) Lord, in your strength the king is glad.
O LORD, in your strength the king is glad;
in your victory how greatly he rejoices!
You have granted him his heart’s desire;
you refused not the wish of his lips.
R. Lord, in your strength the king is glad.
For you welcomed him with goodly blessings,
you placed on his head a crown of pure gold.
He asked life of you: you gave him 
length of days forever and ever. 
R. Lord, in your strength the king is glad.
Great is his glory in your victory;
majesty and splendor you conferred upon him.
You made him a blessing forever,
you gladdened him with the joy of your face.
R. Lord, in your strength the king is glad.

Alleluia (HEBREWS 4:12)

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The word of God is living and effective,
able to discern the reflections and thoughts of the heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel (MATTHEW 20:1-16)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a landowner
who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard.
After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage,
he sent them into his vineyard.
Going out about nine o’clock,
he saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard,
and I will give you what is just.’
So they went off. 
And he went out again around noon,
and around three o’clock, and did likewise.
Going out about five o’clock,
he found others standing around, and said to them,
‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’
They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’
He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’
When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman,
‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay,
beginning with the last and ending with the first.’
When those who had started about five o’clock came,
each received the usual daily wage.
So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more,
but each of them also got the usual wage.
And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying,
‘These last ones worked only one hour,
and you have made them equal to us,
who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’
He said to one of them in reply,
‘My friend, I am not cheating you.
Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?
Take what is yours and go.
What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?
Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?
Are you envious because I am generous?’
Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

– The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection: All of us are part of the mission God entrusts us. In this earthly vinyeard, we are expected to bear fruit through our way of life as Christians, especially as we give witness to the Good News by our everyday lifestyle. Today’s Gospel Parable is a challenge for us on how we are to live not all the times in accordance with what we want, but moreover with what God knows best for us. This owner of the vineyard calls 3 groups for 3 shifts for it to bear fruit. All groups have dedicated their hard work, and it’s at that time when the incomes are distributed. Each got the same amount, but the ones who were first demanded more since the last ones only worked for a few hours. The landowner explained how the system works. It is a matter on how he treats the laborers and rewards them for their hardworkers. This parable shows his trust towards them and his generous heart to pay them.
Dear friends, this is the same with our God. God calls us to do our part in this world for something good to happen. Of course the greatest reward is eternal life in Heaven. But here on earth, he gives us what is right for us. Even if he seems to delay in answering our prayers, then we should continue to pray without ceasing and persevere in our daily struggles. Lastly, we should remember that what he looks on us is the heart, so our mission should come from the heart, not at the matter of boasting the frequency of dedication, duration, and time. He is generous towards us, so we are also expected to be generous towards other people by not only providing and giving, but also helping and doing kind acts.

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