Friday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time - 7th July 2017
Reading 1, Genesis 23:1-4, 19; 24:1-8, 62-67
1 The length of Sarah's life was a hundred and twenty-seven years.
3 Then rising from beside his dead, Abraham spoke to the Hittites,
4 'I am a stranger resident here,' he said. 'Let me have a burial site of my own here, so that I can remove my dead for burial.'
2 Abraham said to the senior servant in his household, the steward of all his property, 'Place your hand under my thigh:
4 but will go to my native land and my own kinsfolk to choose a wife for my son Isaac.'
5 The servant asked him, 'What if the girl does not want to follow me to this country? Should I then take your son back to the country from which you come?'
6 Abraham replied, 'On no account are you to take my son back there.
7 Yahweh, God of heaven and God of earth, who took me from my father's home, and from the land of my kinsfolk, and who promised me on oath, "I shall give this country to your descendants"-he will now send his angel ahead of you, so that you can get a wife for my son from there.
8 If then the girl refuses to follow you, you will be quit of this oath to me. Only do not take my son back there.'
62 Isaac meanwhile had come back from the well of Lahai Roi and was living in the Negeb.
63 While Isaac was out walking towards evening in the fields, he looked up and saw camels approaching.
64 And Rebekah looked up and saw Isaac. She jumped down from her camel,
65 and asked the servant, 'Who is that man walking through the fields towards us?' The servant replied, 'That is my master.' So she took her veil and covered herself up.
66 The servant told Isaac the whole story.
The Word of the Lord.
Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 106:1-2, 3-4, 4-5
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
1 Alleluia! Give thanks to Yahweh, for he is good, his faithful love is everlasting!
2 Who can recount all Yahweh's triumphs, who can fully voice his praise?
3 How blessed are those who keep to what is just, whose conduct is always upright!
4 Remember me, Yahweh, in your love for your people. Come near to me with your saving power,
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel, Matthew 9:9-13
"I desire mercy - not sacrifice"
10 Now while he was at table in the house it happened that a number of tax collectors and sinners came to sit at the table with Jesus and his disciples.
11 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, 'Why does your master eat with tax collectors and sinners?'
12 When he heard this he replied, 'It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick.
13 Go and learn the meaning of the words: Mercy is what pleases me, not sacrifice. And indeed I came to call not the upright, but sinners.'
The Gospel of the Lord.
Reflection: When the Pharisees challenged Jesus' unorthodox behavior in eating with public sinners, Jesus' defense was quite simple. A doctor doesn't need to visit healthy people; instead he goes to those who are sick. Jesus likewise sought out those in the greatest need. A true physician seeks healing of the whole person - body, mind, and spirit. Jesus came as the divine physician and good shepherd to care for his people and to restore them to wholeness of life. The orthodox were so preoccupied with their own practice of religion that they neglected to help the very people who needed spiritual care. Their religion was selfish because they didn't want to have anything to do with people not like themselves. Jesus stated his mission in unequivocal terms: I came not to call the righteous, but to call sinners. Ironically the orthodox were as needy as those they despised. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
On more than one occasion Jesus quoted the saying from the prophet Hosea: For I desire mercy and not sacrifice (Hosea 6:6). Do you thank the Lord Jesus for the great mercy he has shown to you? And do you show mercy to your neighbor as well?
Prayer: "Lord Jesus, our Savior, let us now come to you: Our hearts are cold; Lord, warm them with your selfless love. Our hearts are sinful; cleanse them with your precious blood. Our hearts are weak; strengthen them with your joyous Spirit. Our hearts are empty; fill them with your divine presence. Lord Jesus, our hearts are yours; possess them always and only for yourself." Amen.
Jesus- the divine physician