DAILY MASS READINGS (February 20, 2020)

THURSDAY OF THE 6TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR II, Green)

Reading 1 (JAMES 2:1-9)

A reading from the Letter of St. James

My brothers and sisters, show no partiality
as you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.
For if a man with gold rings and fine clothes  
comes into your assembly,
and a poor person with shabby clothes also comes in,  
and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes
and say, “Sit here, please,”
while you say to the poor one, “Stand there,” or “Sit at my feet,”
have you not made distinctions among yourselves
and become judges with evil designs?

Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters.
Did not God choose those who are poor in the world
to be rich in faith and heirs of the Kingdom
that he promised to those who love him?
But you dishonored the poor.
Are not the rich oppressing you?
And do they themselves not haul you off to court?
Is it not they who blaspheme the noble name that was invoked over you?
However, if you fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture,
You shall love your neighbor as yourself, you are doing well.
But if you show partiality, you commit sin,
and are convicted by the law as transgressors.

– The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm (PSALM 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7)

R.    (7a) The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R.    The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
R.    The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R.    The Lord hears the cry of the poor.

Alleluia (JOHN 6:63C, 68C)

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life;
you have the words of everlasting life.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel (MARK 8:27-33)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Mark

Jesus and his disciples set out
for the villages of Caesarea Philippi.
Along the way he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that I am?”
They said in reply,
“John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others one of the prophets.”
And he asked them,
“But who do you say that I am?”
Peter said to him in reply,
“You are the Christ.”
Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.

He began to teach them
that the Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed, and rise after three days.
He spoke this openly.
Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples,
rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

– The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection: The First Reading reminds us of how we are to treat one another, especially those who are considered to be “poor”. We know that we have a strong faith in the Lord, which is why we have so many devotions and prayers to him. Now what the Apostle James wants us to do is to make those practices and traditions, that compose the Single Deposit, reflective in our lives. They should lead us in caring and showing our concern for other people. They should not be means of exploiting nor belittling others. By accepting our neighbors, we also accept the Lord in our lives. The Gospel Reading gives us a close personal encounter of Christ with his Apostles in Caesarea, Philippi. He asks them of the opinion of people about him, to which they reply different names like St. John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the ancient prophets. Then he straightens himself up to ask them of their opinion about him. But more than a mere opinion, Simon Peter makes a profession of faith that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, then he and the rest of the Apostles were told not to tell anyone about the Lord. Peter has known from his heart that Jesus is the Messiah, but he only viewed this in the perspective of the Jewish oracles. The Apostles thought that he is the liberator of the Israelites from the Roman occupation. So when Christ first has predicted his passion, Peter sternly objects. Then Jesus calls him “Satan” not because he is demonic, but it is a hyperbole to signify the limited capacity of Simon Peter’s thinking, unlike that of God’s wisdom. But moreover what we can learn here is like St. Peter, we too believe that Jesus Christ is our Lord, Savior, and Friend. We believe that God is a loving and merciful Father. Moreover, we should always allow the divine will to happen in our life. It will not only benefit us, but even other people, by the way we interact with them and do kind and just deeds towards them. 

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