“Washy ourselves, make yourselves clean, remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes.”
A reading from the Book of Isaiah (Isaiah 1:10- 17)
Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom! Give ear to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah! “What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the Lord; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of he-goats. When you come to appear before me, who requires of you this trampling of my courts? Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and sabbath and the calling of assemblies — I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me, I am weary of bearing them. When you spread forth your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.”
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Ps 50:8-9.16bc-17.21 and 23 (R. 23bc)
R/. To one whose way is blameless, I will show the salvation of God.
“I do not rebuke you for your sacrifices;
your offerings are always before me.
I do not take more bullocks from your farms,
nor goats from among your herds.” R/.
“How can you recite my commandments,
and take my covenant on your lips,
you who despise correction,
and cast my words behind you. R.
R/. To one whose way is blameless, I will show the salvation of God
“You do this, and should I keep silence?
Do you think that I am like you?
I accuse you, lay the charge before you.
A sacrifice of praise gives me honour,
and to one whom way is blameless,
I will show the salvation of God.” R/.
Alleluia Matthew 5:10
Alleluia. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Alleluia.
“I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 10:34-11:1)
At that time: Jesus said to his apostles, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s foes will be those of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it. He who receives you received me, and he who receives me receives him who sent me. He who receives a prophet because he is a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward, and he who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.” And when Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their cities.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Today’s gospel contains a series of discourses of Jesus on various themes for our reflection. But the most interesting one is that which dwells on peace. As if to scandalize his listeners, Jesus makes it clear that he has come not to bring peace but rather division at various levels, especially within the context of family life. This means the peace that he brings is not free from conflict after all. “in a world like ours, full of confusion, greed and injustice, living the Gospel inevitably arouses the kind of opposition Jesus himself faced. The Gospel excludes any compromise that will allow us to turn our backs on an oppressed world. There is also an inbuilt urge to freedom which impels us to make decisions in spite of the criticism of those close to us, whenever we have to stand up for gospel values.