FIRST READING
I took your father from beyond the River,’ I brought you out of Egypt,’ I brought you to the land.
A reading from the Book of Joshua (Joshua 24:1-13)

In those days: Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel; and they presented themselves before God. And Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Your fathers lived of old beyond the Euphrates, Terah, the father of Abraham and of Nahor; and they served other gods. Then I took your father Abraham from beyond the River and led him through all the land of Canaan, and made his offspring many. I gave him Isaac; and to Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. And I gave Esau the hill country of Seir to possess, but Jacob and his children went down to Egypt. And I sent Moses and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt with what I did in the midst of it; and afterwards I brought you out. Then I brought your fathers out of Egypt, and you came to the sea; and the Egyptians pursued your fathers with chariots and horsemen to the Red Sea. And when they cried to the Lord, he put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and made the sea come upon them and cover them; and your eyes saw what I did to Egypt; and you lived in the wilderness a long time. Then I brought you to the land of the Amorites, who lived on the other side of the Jordan; they fought with you, and I gave them into your hand, and you took possession of their land, and I destroyed them before you. Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and fought against Israel; and he sent and invited Balaam the son of Beor to curse you, but I would not listen to Balaam; therefore he blessed you; so I delivered you out of his hand. And you went over the Jordan and came to Jericho, and the men of Jericho fought against you, and also the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and I gave them into your hand. And I sent the hornet before you, which drove them out before you, the two kings of the Amorites; it was not by your sword or by your bow. I gave you a land on which you had not laboured, and cities which you had not built, and you dwell there in; you eat the fruit of vineyards and olive yards which you did not plant.”’

The word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM Ps136:1-3.16-18.21-22 and 24 (R.1b)
R/. For his mercy endures forever
Or: Alleluia.

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods,
for his mercy endures forever.  
Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
for his mercy endures forever. R.

Through the desert his people he led,
for his mercy endures forever.
Nations in their greatness he struck,
For his mercy endures forever.
Kings in their spendour he slew,
For his mercy endures forever. R.

R/. For his mercy endures forever
Or: Alleluia.

He gave their land as a heritage,
For his mercy endures forever.
A heritage for Israel, his servant,
For his mercy endures forever.
And he snatched us away from our foes,
For his mercy endures forever. R.

ALLELUIA 1Thessalonians 2:13
Alleluia. Accept the word of God, not as the word of men, but as what it really is, the word of God. Alleluia.

GOSPEL               
For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 19:3-12)

At that time: Pharisees came up to Jesus and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, ‘Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one’? So they are no longer two but one. What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?” He said to them, “For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery; and he who marries a divorced woman, commits adultery.” The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is not expedient to marry.” But he said to them, “Not all men can receive this precept, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Today’s Reflection

Joshua called the people of Israel to renew their commitment to the covenant they had made with God. In doings so he recalled the history of salvation, narrating how God had intervened at very crucial times. Prophets of the Old Testament have described the relationship between God and Israel as similar to marital commitment. Jesus presented marital commitment as an unbreakable union between man and woman, saying “Not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it is given. It is indeed a serious vocation.” Likewise, Jesus spoke of commitment to voluntary celibacy for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Relationship with God as well as vocation to marriage or celibacy require faithful commitment. It is voluntary, and so, “Let anyone accept this who can.”

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here