FIRST READING
“The son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac.”
A reading from the Book of Genesis (Genesis 21:5.8-20)

Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. And the child grew, and was weaned; and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned.  But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, playing with her son Isaac. So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son; for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac.” And the thing was very displeasing to Abraham on account of his son. But God said to Abraham, “Be not displeased because of the lad and because of your slave woman; whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your descendants be named. And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba. When the water in the skin was gone, she cast the child under one of the bushes. Then she went, and sat down over against him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot; for she said, “Let me not look upon the death of the child.” And as she sat over against him, the child lifted up his voice and wept. And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not; for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him fast with your hand; for I will make him a great nation.” Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the lad a drink. And God was with the lad, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow.

The word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm34:7-8.10-11.12.13 (R. see 7a)
R/. The lowly one called, and the Lord heard him.

This lowly one called; the Lord heard,
and rescued him from all his distress.
The angel of the Lord is encamped
around those who fear him, to rescue them. R.

Fear the Lord, you his holy ones.
They lack nothing, those who fear him.
The rich suffer want and go hungry,
But those who seek the Lord lack no blessing. R.

R/. The lowly one called, and the Lord heard him.

Come, children, and hear me,
That I may teach you the fear of the Lord.
Who is it that desires life
And longs to see prosperous days? R.

ALLELUIA   James 1:8
Alleluia. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth that we should be a kind of first fruits of his. Alleluia.

GOSPEL               
You have come here before the appointed time to torment the demons.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 8:28-34)

At that time: When Jesus came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” Now a, herd of many swine was feeding at some distance from them. And the demons begged him, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of swine.” And he said to them, “Go.” So they came out and went into the swine; and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and perished in the waters. The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, and what had happened to the demoniacs. And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighbourhood.

The Gospel of the Lord.

Today’s Reflection

Even demons recognized Jesus as the Son of God and acknowledged his authority over them. They were eventually sent into the swine. Surprisingly, the villagers were not happy; they considered their material possessions more important than the life of their fellowmen and hence begged Jesus to leave. It is a tragedy when we pride our financial or material stability over our spiritual liberation. We must at no point value financial, bodily or emotional comfort over and above a closer relationship with God, who cares for all. We must seize every given opportunity that we receive to let Jesus into our lives, no matter what it takes. Let us not give up in the midst of tribulations. Let us value human life more than material possessions.

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