This people have sinned a great sin; they have made for themselves gods of gold.
A reading from the Book of Exodus (Exodus 32:15-24. 30-34)
In those days: Moses turned, and went down from the mountain with the two tables of the covenant in his hands, tables that were written on both sides; on the one side and on the other were they written. And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables. When Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, “there is a noise of war in the camp.” But he said, “It is not the sound of shouting for victory, or the sound of the cry of defeat, but the sound of singing that I hear.” And as soon as he came near the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, Moses’ anger burnt hot and he threw the tables out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain. And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it with fire, and ground it to powder, and scattered it upon the water, and made the sons of Israel drink it. And Moses said to Aaron, “what did this people do to you that you have brought a great sin upon them?” and Aaron said, “Let not the anger of my Lord burn hot; you know the people, that they are set on evil. For they said to me, ‘make us gods, who shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ And I said to them, ‘Let any who have gold it take off; so they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and there came out calf.” The next day Moses said to the people, “you have sinned a great sin. And now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.” So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Alas, this people have sinned a great sin; they have made for themselves gods of gold. But now, if you will forgive their sin – and if not, blot me, I beg you, out of your book which you have written.” But the Lord said to Moses, “whoever has sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. But now go, lead the people to the place of which I have spoken to you; behold, my angel shall go before you. Nevertheless, in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them.”
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Ps 106:19-20.21-22.23 (R1b)
R/. O give thanks to the Lord for he is good.
They fashioned a calf at Horeb,
And worshipped an image of metal,
They exchange their glory
For the image of a bull that eats grass. R
They forgot the God who was their saviour,
Who had done such great things in Egypt,
Such wonders in the land of Ham,
Such marvels at the Red Sea. R.
For this he said he would destroy them,
But Moses, the man he had chosen,
Stood in the breach before him,
To turn back his anger from destruction. R.
ALLELUIA James 1:18
Alleluia. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth that we should be kind of first fruits of his. Alleluia.
“A grain of mustard seed becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air make nests in its branches.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 13:31-35)
At that time: Another parable Jesus put before the crowds, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till it was all leavened.” All this Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed he said nothing to them without a parable. This was to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet: “I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
Moses is angry with the people who worshipped a golden calf, forgetting the true God. They have broken the very First Commandment of God inscribed on the two tablets that he had given them: “You shall not make yourself a carved image or any likeness of anything in Heaven above or on earth beneath or in the waters under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them” (Ex 20:4). They have forgotten the role Yahweh played in their lives and therefore replaced the true God with an idol. Today too, people go after idols – idols of wealth, power, position, pleasure, media etc. we get so attached to some of them and even worship them, that they take the place of the true God who created them all. God in his goodness has placed in us the seed of the kingdom of God like mustard seed or a pinch of yeast. Sometimes we are so preoccupied with our material and intellectual pursuits that we ignore the presence of God within us. We worship the transitory in the place of the eternal God.