13TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Psalter: Week 4 / (Red)
St. Maria Goretti, virgin & martyr
Ps 115:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.
1st Reading: Gen 22:1b-19
Some time later God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!“ And he answered, “Here I am.“ Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I shall point out to you.“
Abraham rose early next morning and saddled his donkey and took with him two of his young men and his son Isaac. He chopped wood for the burnt offering and set out for the place to which God had directed him. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance, and he said to the young men, “Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will go over there to worship and then we will come back to you.“
Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. He carried in his hand the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke to Abraham, his father, “Father!“ And Abraham replied, “Yes, my son?“ Isaac said, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for the sacrifice?“ Abraham replied, “God himself will provide the lamb for the sacrifice.“
They went on, the two of them together, until they came to the place to which God had directed them. When Abraham had built the altar and set the wood on it, he bound his son Isaac and laid him on the wood placed on the altar. He then stretched out his hand to seize the knife and slay his son. But the Angel of Yahweh called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!“
And he said, “Here I am.“ “Do not lay your hand on the boy; do not harm him, for now I know that you fear God, and you have not held back from me your only son.“
Abraham looked around and saw behind him a ram caught by its horns in a bush. He offered it as a burnt offering in place of his son. Abraham named the place ‘The Lord will provide.’ And the saying has lasted to this day.
And the angel of Yahweh called from heaven a second time, “By myself I have sworn, it is Yahweh who speaks, because you have done this and not held back your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the lands of their enemies. All the nations of the earth will be blessed through your descendants because you have obeyed me.”
So Abraham returned to his servants, and they set off together for Beersheba and it was there that Abraham stayed.
Gospel: Mt 9:1-8
Jesus got back into the boat, crossed the lake again, and came to his hometown. Here, they brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a bed. Jesus saw their faith and said to the paralytic, “Courage, my son! Your sins are forgiven.“
Some teachers of the law said within themselves, “This man insults God.“ Jesus was aware of what they were thinking; and said, “Why have you such evil thoughts? Which is easier to say: ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or ‘Stand up and walk’? But that you may know, that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins,“ he said to the paralyzed man, “Stand up! Take your stretcher and go home!“ The man got up, and went home.
When the crowds saw this, they were filled with awe, and praised God for giving such power to human beings.
The Jews believed that there is a direct correlation between sin and bodily illness. This was one of the reasons why in the Old Testament sacrifices were offered as peace offerings intended to heal broken relationships with God. By forgiving the sins of the paralyzed man, Jesus intended to restore him to good health physically and spiritually. As someone observed, for Jesus “forgiveness is the key to healing and faith is the key to forgiveness.“ While we cannot conclude that healthy people are necessarily more saintly, it cannot be denied that a sinful lifestyle affects a person’s general well-being. Sinfulness inevitably disturbs our relationships–with ourselves, with other people, with the world and with God. Sin has a tremendous impact on our self-esteem and self-confidence. When we are in sin a sense of shame and guilt affects our relationship with others and with God.
Our personal experiences tell us that some of the blessings of the Sacrament of Penance include serenity, peace of mind and a more positive disposition in our relationship with others. It is in this sacrament that we experience concretely and deeply the mercy and compassion of God.
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Biblical Texts are taken from Christian Community Bible, Catholic Pastoral Edition (57th Edition) The New English Translation for the ROMAN MISSAL
With permission from the EPISCOPAL COMMISION ON LITURGY of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines
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