Friday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time -21st July 2017
Reading 1, Exodus 11:10--12:14
2 'This month must be the first of all the months for you, the first month of your year.
3 Speak to the whole community of Israel and say, "On the tenth day of this month each man must take an animal from the flock for his family: one animal for each household.
4 If the household is too small for the animal, he must join with his neighbour nearest to his house, depending on the number of persons. When you choose the animal, you will take into account what each can eat.
5 It must be an animal without blemish, a male one year old; you may choose it either from the sheep or from the goats.
6 You must keep it till the fourteenth day of the month when the whole assembly of the community of Israel will slaughter it at twilight.
7 Some of the blood must then be taken and put on both door-posts and the lintel of the houses where it is eaten.
8 That night, the flesh must be eaten, roasted over the fire; it must be eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
9 Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over the fire, with the head, feet and entrails.
10 You must not leave any of it over till the morning: whatever is left till morning you must burn.
11 This is how you must eat it: with a belt round your waist, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. You must eat it hurriedly: it is a Passover in Yahweh's honour.
alike, and shall execute justice on all the gods of Egypt, I, Yahweh!
14 This day must be commemorated by you, and you must keep it as a feast in Yahweh's honour. You must keep it as a feast-day for all generations; this is a decree for all time.
The Word of the Lord.
Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 116:12-13, 15-16, 17-18
I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.
12 What return can I make to Yahweh for his generosity to me?
13 I shall take up the cup of salvation and call on the name of Yahweh.
14 I shall fulfil my vows to Yahweh, witnessed by all his people.
15 Costly in Yahweh's sight is the death of his faithful.
16 I beg you, Yahweh! I am your servant, I am your servant and my mother was your servant; you have undone my fetters.
17 I shall offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of Yahweh.
18 I shall fulfil my vows to Yahweh, witnessed by all his people,
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord,
I know them, and they follow me.
Gospel, Matthew 12:1-8
"I desire mercy and not sacrifice"
2 The Pharisees noticed it and said to him, 'Look, your disciples are doing something that is forbidden on the Sabbath.'
3 But he said to them, 'Have you not read what David did when he and his followers were hungry-
4 how he went into the house of God and they ate the loaves of the offering although neither he nor his followers were permitted to eat them, but only the priests?
6 Now here, I tell you, is something greater than the Temple.
7 And if you had understood the meaning of the words: Mercy is what pleases me, not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the blameless.
8 For the Son of man is master of the Sabbath.'
The Gospel of the Lord.
Reflection: Jesus' disciples are scolded by the scribes and Pharisees, not for plucking and eating corn from the fields, but for doing so on the Sabbath. In defending his disciples, Jesus argues from the Scriptures that human need has precedence over ritual custom. In their hunger, David and his men ate of the holy bread offered in the Temple. Jesus also quoted of the Sabbath work involved in worship in the Temple. This kind of work was usually double the work of worship on weekdays. Jesus then quotes from the prophet Hosea (6:6): I desire mercy, and not sacrifice. While the claims of ritual sacrifice are important to God, mercy and kindness in response to human need are even more important. Do you honor the Lord in the way you treat your neighbor and celebrate the Lord's Day?
Prayer: "Lord, make us to walk in your way: Where there is love and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance; where there is patience and humility, there is neither anger nor annoyance; where there is poverty and joy, there is neither greed nor avarice; where there is peace and contemplation, there is neither care nor restlessness; where there is the fear of God to guard the dwelling, there no enemy can enter; where there is mercy and prudence, there is neither excess nor harshness; this we know through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord." Amen (Prayer of Francis of Assisi, 1182-1226)
Mercy and not sacrifice