16TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Psalter: Week 3 / (Green)
Ps 19:8, 9, 10, 11
Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
1st Reading: Ex 20:1-17
God spoke all these words. He said, “I am Yahweh your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
Do not have other gods before me.
Do not make yourself a carved image or any likeness of anything in heaven, or on the earth beneath, or in the waters under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them. For I, Yahweh your God, am a jealous God; for the sin of the fathers, when they rebel against me, I punish the sons, the grandsons and the great-grandsons; but I show steadfast love until the thousandth generation for those who love me and keep my commandments.
Do not take the name of Yahweh your God in vain for Yahweh will not leave unpunished anyone who takes his name in vain.
Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. For six days you will labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath for Yahweh your God. Do not work that day, neither you, nor your son, nor your daughter nor your servants, men or women, nor your animals, nor the stranger who is staying with you. For in six days Yahweh made the heavens and the earth and the sea and all that is in them, but on the seventh day he rested; that is why Yahweh has blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
Honor your father and your mother that you may have a long life in the land that Yahweh has given you.
Do not kill.
Do not commit adultery.
Do not steal.
Do not give false witness against your neighbor.
Do not covet your neighbor’s house. Do not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his servant, man or woman, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is his.”
Gospel: Mt 13:18-23
Now listen to the parable of the sower.
When a person hears the message of the kingdom, but does not take it seriously, the devil comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed that fell along the footpath.
The seed that fell on rocky ground stands for the one who hears the word, and accepts it at once with joy. But such a person has no roots, and endures only for a while. No sooner is he harassed or persecuted because of the word, than he gives up.
The seed that fell among the thistles is the one who hears the word; but then, the worries of this life and the love of money choke the word; and it does not bear fruit.
As for the seed that fell on good soil, it is the one who hears the word and understands it; this seed bears fruit and produces a hundred, or sixty, or thirty times more.“
Contrary to the perception of many of our contemporaries, moral laws are not oppressive requirements that restrict human freedom but necessary guideposts for meaningful existence. The commandments, such as the ones given in Exodus (First Reading) are expressive of the great concern that the Lord has for us His children. They reveal to us that He is truly the Good Shepherd who does not leave his flock alone but leads them to green pasture and protects them from danger. Obedience to these commandments will bring us to the kingdom of God. As Jesus told the young man who asked how he could gain eternal life: “If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.“ (Mt 19:17)
The gospel reading presents Jesus’ explanation of the parable of the sower. What is highlighted is the variety of human responses to the Word of God. There are likewise varied ways of responding to the commandments. How have we accepted and personally responded to them? How have we been preparing our hearts to receive God’s word (commandments)? Have we been bearing a rich harvest of goodness, virtues, good works and healthy relationships?
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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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