“Thus shall Ezekiel be to you a sign,’ according to all that he has done you shall do.”
A reading from the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 24:15-24)
The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man; behold, I am about to take the delight of your eyes away from you at a stroke; yet you shall not mourn or weep nor shall your tears run down. Sigh, but not aloud; make no mourning for the dead. Bind on your turban, and put your shoes on your feet; do not cover your lips, nor eat the bread of mourners.” So I spoke to the people in the morning, and at evening my wife died. And on the next morning I did as I was commanded. And the people said to me, “Will you not tell us what these things mean for us, that you are acting thus?” Then I said to them, “The word of the Lord came to me: ‘Say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will profane my sanctuary, the pride of your power, the delight of your eyes, and the desire of your soul; and your sons and your daughters whom you left behind shall fall by the sword. And you shall do `as I have done; you shall not cover your lips, nor eat the bread of mourners. Your turbans shall be on your heads and your shoes on your feet; you shall not mourn or weep, but you shall pine away in your iniquities and groan to one another. Thus shall Ezekiel be to you a sign; according to all that he has done you shall do. When this comes, then you will know that I am the Lord GOD. ”’
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Dt 32: 18-19.20.21 (R. see 18b)
R/. You forgot God who gave you birth.
You were unmindful of the Rock that begot you,
and you forgot the God who gave you birth.
The Lord saw it, and spurned them,
because of the provocation of his sons and his daughters. R.
And he said, “I will hide my face from them,
I will see what their end will be,
for they are a perverse generation,
children in whom is no faithfulness.” R.
“They have stirred me to jealousy with what is no god;
they have provoked me with their idols.
So I will stir them to jealousy with those who are no people;
I will provoke them with a foolish nation.” R.
ALLELUIA Matthew 5:3
Alleluia. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Alleluia.
“If you would be perfect, sell what you possess, and you will have treasure in heaven.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 19: 16-22)
At that time: Behold, one came up to Jesus, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?” And he said to him “Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, Which?” And Jesus said, “You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honour your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” The young man said to him, “All these I have observed; what do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.
The Gospel of the Lord.
One thing we should know about the prophets is that they took God’s words seriously. God’s words gave meaning and direction to their lives. In some circumstances, God’s words come to challenge us and demand that we change our lifestyle and ideas about life. Today, God tells us what we must do to be perfect. We might understand perfection as a synonym for a total law-abiding life or as another word for moral uprightness. Jesus confirms the biblical idea that perfection lies in practical and courageous actions for those who are most vulnerable: the materially poor and the oppressed. Let us take the call of Jesus seriously and resolve to give up our securities by sharing what we have with others in need.