13Jul 13 July, 2020. Monday of Week 15

St Henry (Opt. Mem.)

1st Reading: Isaiah 1:10-17

Formal worship from people who oppress of the poor is spurned by God

Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom! Listen to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah! What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the Lord; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats.

When you come to appear before me, who asked this from your hand? Trample my courts no more; bringing offerings is futile; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and sabbath and calling of convocation – I cannot endure solemn assemblies with iniquity. Your new moons and your appointed festivals my soul hates; they have become a burden to me, I am weary of bearing them. When you stretch ot your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.

Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.

Responsorial: from Psalm 50

R./: I will show God’s salvation to the upright

I do not rebuke you for your sacrifices,
your burnt offerings are always before me.
I do not ask more bullocks from your farms,
nor goats from among your herds. (R./)

Why do you recite my statutes,
and profess my covenant with your mouth,
Though you hate discipline
and cast my words behind you? (R./)

When you do these things, shall I be deaf to it?
Or do you think you that I am like yourself?
A sacrifice of thanksgiving honours me me;
and I will show God’s salvation to the upright . (R./)

Gospel: Matthew 10:34-11:1

Jesus foretells division within families about the gospel

Jesus said: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.

Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up he cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.

“Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple – truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”

Peace and war

Isaiah points to internal oppression within Israel, not caused as in the past by the Egyptians, but by their fellow-Jews. The religious scene in Isaiah’s time seemed so perfectly observant that one could easily have overlooked the injustices and suffering in homes and places of employment. Yet God’s anger blazes out in the words of the prophet: “Your new moons and festivals I detest; they weigh me down, I tire of the load… Though you pray the more, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood.”

The “hands full of blood” refer to a judge’s “Guilty” verdict in a lawcourt. But the divine judge gives another chance; instead of sentencing the guilty party to death, Israel is granted a reprieve, provided that they make justice their aim, redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow. Unless their religion turns towards social justice, God will “turn my hand against you, and refine your dross in the furnace” (Isa 1:25). In Isaiah’s view, what God desires is peace with justice, compassion and human dignity. If needs be, fire will engulf the guilty party and burn away the dross.

Jesus speaks about problems that arise within the family circle. Again, the solution to seek is not peace at any price, but a peace that is compatible with our faith in Jesus. If discord threatens our family relationships, it must not be for dominance but for conscience. We are summoned to be compassionate to others but firm in our faith, and willing to suffer and bear the cross, whenever the Lord sends it to us.

One Response


    Brothers and sisters in the Lord, in the first reading the Lord is questioning the loyalty of the Israelites to His law especially love of neighbor. Brothers and sisters, it is very hard to separate the love of God from the love of neighbor. These in a way move or supplement each other. For there is no way we can pretend to love God when we hate our neighbors. There is no way we can be offering to the Lord lots of money and sacrifices yet those around us are going hungry, that we come to church smiling, serving in any capacity but when our neighbors and could be relatives are our enemies, calling on Lord, Lord, yet we are the perpetrators of the land and property of the widows and orphans. Brothers and sisters, there is no love in any of these and the Lord through the prophet Isaiah is calling upon you and me to be just, to treat others well with respect and most of all with love and it is on that basis that he can worthily accept our prayers and sacrifices. This brothers and sisters calls for radical change and decision, for at times it is possible that our families, companies or friends are involved, yet our cooperation brothers and sisters cannot save us from the wrath of God.
    Hence Christ firmly is telling us that if we cannot separate ourselves from those, then, you and I are not worthy following him. That at times we have to be radical, to leave any of those we love so much if in one way or the other are helping us follow Christ. It could be so painful to leave family, or friends, and yes, that is indeed the painful separation Christ promises us all his disciples. In a way, that could be our cross of loneliness or separation but all in all Christ is there. One man often said to his suitors, I love you, but I love God more. We pray that the Lord gives us the Grace, that if in any instance we are to choose between Christ and any other, we may choose Christ for he chose us first, and if we abide in him, will make us bear fruit, fruit that shall last and most of all lead us to life everlasting.