Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 01.08.2023
EXODUS 33: 7 – 11; 34: 5b – 9, 28
In those days: Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp; and he called it the tent of meeting. And every one who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp. Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose up, and every man stood at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he had gone into the tent. When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the door of the tent, and the Lord would speak with Moses. And when all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the door of the tent, all the people would rise up and worship, every man at his tent door. Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses turned again into the camp, his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tent. And Moses proclaimed the name of the Lord. The Lord passed before him, and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy and faithfulness, keeping merciful love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” And Moses made haste to bow his head towards the earth, and worshipped. And he said, “If now I have found favour in your sight, O Lord, let the Lord, I beg you, go in the midst of us, although it is a stiff-necked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.” And he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.
The Word of the Lord.
Psalm 103: 6 – 7, 8 – 9, 10 – 11, 12 – 13 (R.) 8a
R/. The Lord is compassionate and gracious.
The Lord does just deeds,
Gives full justice to all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
And his deeds to the children of Israel. R/.
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger and rich in mercy.
He will not always find fault;
Nor persist in his anger forever. R/.
He does not treat us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our faults.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so strong his mercy for those who fear him. R/.
As far as the east is from the west,
So far from us does he remove our transgressions.
As a father has compassion on his children,
The Lord’s compassion is on those who fear him. R/.
Acts 16: 14b
Open our hearts, O Lord, that we may give heed to the words of your Son.
“Just as the weeds are gathered and burnt with fire, so it will be at the close of the age.”
MATTHEW 13: 36 – 43
At that time: Jesus left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” He answered, “He who sows the good seed is the Son of man; the field is the world, and the good seed means the sons of the kingdom; the weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burnt with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. The Son of man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Our Final Destiny
August 1, 2023
“Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears ought to hear.” (Matthew 13:43)
This passage concludes Jesus’ explanation of the Parable of the Weeds in the Field. Recall that in this parable there were good seeds sown in a field. The Sower is the Son of Man, Jesus, and the seed He sows are the children of the Kingdom, which includes all those who are in a state of grace. The field is the whole world. Thus, Jesus is saying that He has sent His followers, each one of us, into the world to build His Kingdom. But the evil one also sows his “children,” which refers to all of those who live evil lives that are contrary to the will of God. The passage above refers to the reward that the children of the Kingdom receive, whereas the passage just prior to this points out that at the end of the age, the children of the evil one will be condemned and sent “into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”
The end result of being the children of the Kingdom is quite hopeful. “Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father.” This promise from our Lord should be pondered, believed and become the driving force of our hope in life.
Hope is an essential virtue that we often do not speak of enough. The gift of hope is not simply wishful thinking, such as when one hopes they win the lotto. The theological virtue of hope is a gift from God that is based on truth. The truth that it is based on is the promise of eternal life in Heaven if we accept all that God speaks to us and if we fulfill His glorious will in our lives.
By analogy, say that you have a large mortgage on your home. And say that the bank was doing a promotion in which they were going to pay off the mortgage for one lucky family. And that family was yours. They contacted you and let you know that all you need to do is fill out an application for this grant and that it would then be given to you. What would you do? Of course you would go and fill out the application. The bank is trustworthy, and you are confident that if you do what they ask, a small task of filling out the application, then they will follow through with the promise they made of paying off your mortgage. In a sense, there is hope established within you once you learn of this offer; and that hope, which is based on a true promise, is what drives you to do the small task of filling out the application.
So it is with God. The “mortgage” that He promises to pay is the debt of all our sin. And the requirement to receive this promise is fidelity to all He commands of us for our good. The problem is that we often do not fully understand the reward we are promised. That is: to “shine like the sun” in the Kingdom of our Father in Heaven. Having your mortgage paid off by the bank is something concrete and clear and very desirable. But the reward of shining like the sun in the Kingdom is of infinitely greater value. Do you believe that?
The best way to strengthen the virtue of theological hope in our lives is to become more and more certain of the truthful promise of our Lord. We need to understand Heaven and the infinite value we receive by obtaining it. If we truly understood what Jesus was promising us, we would become so intensely driven to do all that He commands us to do that this would become the single focus of our life. The hope would become a strength so strong that we would become consumed with doing anything and everything necessary to obtain such a reward.
Reflect, today, upon the depth of hope you have in your life. How driven are you by the promises made by our Lord? How clearly do you understand those promises? If you struggle with hope, then spend more time on the end reward that is promised to you by Jesus. Believe what He says and make that end goal the central focus of your life.
My glorious King, You invite all people to share in the glories of Heaven. You promise us that if we are faithful, we will shine like the sun for all eternity. Help me to understand this glorious gift so that it becomes the single object of my hope and the drive of all that I do in life. Jesus, I trust in You.