The Lord raised up judges, yet they did not listen to them.
A reading from the Book of Judges (Judges 2:11-19)
In those days: The sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals; and they forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; they went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were round about them, and bowed down to them; and they provoked the Lord to anger. They forsook the Lord, and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth. So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he gave them over to plunderers, who plundered them; and he sold them into the power of their enemies round about, so that they could no longer withstand their enemies. Whenever they marched out, the hand of the Lord was against them for evil, as the Lord had warned, and as the Lord had sworn to them; and they were in great distress. Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the power of those who plundered them. And yet they did not listen to their judges; for they played the harlot after other gods and bowed down to them; they soon turned aside from the way in which their fathers had walked, who had obeyed the commandments of the Lord, and they did not do so. Whenever the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them. But whenever the judge died, they turned back and behaved worse than their fathers, going after other gods, serving them and bowing down to them; they did not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways.
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Ps 106:34-35.36-37.39-40.43ab and 44(R. see 4ab)
R/. O Lord, remember us with the favour you show to your people.
They failed to destroy the peoples,
as the Lord had commanded them;
instead they mingled with the nations,
and learned to act as they did. R.
They also served their idols,
And these became a snare to entrap them.
They even offered their sons
and their daughters in sacrifice to demons. R.
So they defiled themselves by their actions;
their deeds were those of a harlot.
Then God’s anger blazed against his people;
he was filled with horror at his heritage. R.
Time after time he rescued them,
But in their malice they dared to defy him.
In spite of this he paid heed to their distress,
So often as he heard their cry. 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 (Matthew19:16-22)
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 neighbor 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.
The people of Israel, forsaking God, directed their love and affection towards pagan idols – Baal and Ashtaroth. They refused to listen to the judges that God sent them because they had become so attached to the world. They loved the world more than they loved God. God was angry with them and gave them into the hands of their enemies. The rich young man who came to Jesus also loved his wealth and possessions more than he loved God. Jesus challenged him to go and sell his possessions and give the proceeds to the poor. Just like the people of Israel, his attention was divided and he failed to focus on loving the one true God. Loving God above every other thing is the true way to happiness.