13TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Psalter: Week 4 / (Green)
Ps 106:1b-2, 3-4a, 4b-5
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
1st Reading: Gen 23:1-4, 19; 24:1-8, 62-67
Sarah lived a hundred and twenty-seven years. She died at Kiriatharba—that is Hebron—in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went in to weep and mourn for Sarah.
Abraham left his dead one and spoke to the Hittites, “I am only a stranger among you; give me a burial place among you, so that I may bury my dead.”
After this Abraham buried his wife Sarah in the cave of Machpelah.
Abraham was now old and well on in years, and Yahweh had blessed him in every way. Abraham said to his senior servant, who was his steward, “Put your hand under my thigh and you will swear to me by Yahweh, God of heaven and earth, that you will not choose a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites among whom we live; rather it is to my country and my kinsfolk that you will go to choose a wife for my son, Isaac.”
The servant said to him, “Perhaps the woman will not want to follow me to this country. In that case should I take your son to the country you came from?” Abraham said to him, “In no way will you take my son back. For Yahweh, God of heaven and God of earth, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my birth, spoke to me and swore to me that he would give this country to my race. He will send his angel before you, that you may find a wife for my son. But if the woman is unwilling to follow you, you will be free of this oath. In any case you are not to take my son down there.”
Now Isaac had come from the well of Lahai-roi, for he was living in the Negeb. As Isaac went out in the early evening to meditate in the field, he looked up and saw camels coming. Rebekah also looked up and when she saw Isaac she alighted from her camel and said to the servant, “Who is this man in the field coming to meet us?” He replied, “It is my master!” She then covered her face with her veil. The servant related to Isaac all that he had done and Isaac brought Rebekah into the tent of Sarah, his mother. He made her his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.
Gospel: Mt 9:9-13
As Jesus moved on from there, he saw a man named Matthew, at his seat in the custom-house; and he said to him, “Follow me!“ And Matthew got up and followed him. Now it happened, while Jesus was at table in Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners joined Jesus and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why is it, that your master eats with sinners and tax collectors?“
When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people do not need a doctor, but sick people do. Go, and find out what this means: What I want is mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.“
Jesus’ choice of Matthew as one of his disciples is quite encouraging for all of us. We are all sinners like Matthew. There comes a time when every one of us, no matter how good we are, sin against God. But sinfulness is never an obstacle for those who heed the call to take part in Jesus’ mission of evangelization. However, it is important that we leave behind everything that is incompatible or whatever that impedes us from committing ourselves to this mission. This is what Matthew did when he, upon hearing Jesus’ invitation, “Follow me!,“ immediately got up and followed Him, leaving behind his family and his customs post which symbolized his sinful lifestyle.
The meal, in the Jewish perspective, was an important occasion and a sign of fellowship. Hence the fact that Jesus openly shared meals with tax collectors and sinners was considered scandalous behavior. Jesus’ presence and fellowship with sinners was not a sign of approval of their sinful lifestyle but a manifestation of his non-condemnatory attitude. It was his way of saying that he does not give up on sinners. He believes that they can turn their life around especially after having experienced 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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