Readings – 5 August 2017 – Saturday
First Reading: Leviticus 25: 1, 8-17
1 And the Lord spoke to Moses in mount Sinai, saying:
8 Thou shalt also number to thee seven weeks of years, that is to say, seven times seven, which together make forty-nine years:
9 And thou shalt sound the trumpet in the seventh month, the tenth day of the month, in the time of the expiation in all your land.
10 And thou shalt sanctify the fiftieth year, and shalt proclaim remission to all the inhabitants of thy land: for it is the year of jubilee. Every man shall return to his possession, and every one shall go back to his former family:
11 Because it is the jubilee and the fiftieth year. You shall not sow, nor reap the things that grow in the field of their own accord, neither shall you gather the firstfruits of the vines,
12 Because of the sanctification of the jubilee: but as they grow you shall presently eat them.
13 In the year of the jubilee all shall return to their possessions.
14 When thou shalt sell any thing to thy neighbour, or shalt buy of him; grieve not thy brother: but thou shalt buy of him according to the number of years from the jubilee.
15 And he shall sell to thee according to the computation of the fruits.
16 The more years remain after the jubilee, the more shall the price increase: and the less time is counted, so much the less shall the purchase cost. For he shall sell to thee the time of the fruits.
17 Do not afflict your countrymen, but let every one fear his God: because I am the Lord your God.
The Word of the Lord.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 67: 2-3, 5, 7-8
O God, let all the nations praise you!
2 May God have mercy on us, and bless us: may he cause the light of his countenance to shine upon us, and may he have mercy on us.
3 That we may know thy way upon earth: thy salvation in all nations.
5 Let the nations be glad and rejoice: for thou judgest the people with justice, and directest the nations upon earth.
7 The earth hath yielded her fruit. May God, our God bless us,
8 May God bless us: and all the ends of the earth fear him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel: Matthew 14: 1-12
Herod's reaction to John the Baptist
1 At the time Herod the Tetrarch heard the fame of Jesus.
2 And he said to his servants: This is John the Baptist: he is risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works shew forth themselves in him.
3 For Herod had apprehended John and bound him, and put him into prison, because of Herodias, his brother’s wife.
4 For John said to him: It is not lawful for thee to have her.
5 And having a mind to put him to death, he feared the people: because they esteemed him as a prophet.
6 But on Herod’s birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced before them: and pleased Herod.
7 Whereupon he promised with an oath, to give her whatsoever she would ask of him.
8 But she being instructed before by her mother, said: Give me here in a dish the head of John the Baptist.
9 And the king was struck sad: yet because of his oath, and for them that sat with him at table, he commanded it to be given.
10 And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison.
11 And his head was brought in a dish: and it was given to the damsel, and she brought it to her mother.
12 And his disciples came and took the body, and buried it, and came and told Jesus.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Reflection: The Lord Jesus gives grace and help to the humble, to those who acknowledge their weaknesses and their sinfulness, and who look to God for his mercy and pardon, wisdom and strength. His grace and pardon not only frees us from a guilty conscience, it enables us to pursue holiness in every area of our lives, in our thoughts and intentions as well as our words and actions.
God's grace enables us to fight fear with faith and to overcome the temptation to compromise good with evil. Do you rely on God's grace and help to choose his way of holiness and to reject whatever would weaken your faith and loyalty to Jesus Christ?
Prayer: "Heavenly Father, form in me the likeness of your Son Jesus that I may imitate him in word and deed. Help me to live the gospel faithfully and give me the strength and courage I need to not shrink back in the face of hardship and temptation." Amen
Fight fear with faith