Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection July 05, 2024


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R/. Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.

V/. Alleluia

R/. Alleluia

V/. Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest, says the Lord.

R/. Alleluia.

At that time: As Jesus passed on, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

1.      Jesus in the gospel admonishes the Pharisees, “Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice’”. They failed exactly in this. They abounded in religious sacrifices and observances. But they lacked mercy toward others. They despised the tax collectors and many other strata of people as sinners but rated themselves as holy and righteous.

2.      The same lack of mercy and justice infected the Israel people in the Old Testament as found in the first reading from Amos. They practiced rigorously the religious duties like the Sabbath. But they dealt deceitfully with the poor and needy. They pretended to be righteous but in truth were the real sinners. In reference to Jesus’ words, these are the really sick who are sick and have the need of a physician.

3.      In such situations, God does not remain indifferent. He intervenes offering various possibilities for repentance and renewal. He will create a “famine not of bread or water but of hearing the words of the Lord”. He will cause them “seek the word of the Lord”.

4.      God unceasingly calls anyone, “Follow me!” This has no discrimination or social tags and preferences. That is why we find Jesus calling Matthew, who was a tax collector and labeled as a sinner. In this call, the purpose is clear: a personal renewal and a mission to carry on. Blessed was Matthew who responded positively to the call! He fulfilled the purpose of his call by living as a disciple and working as an apostle.

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