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Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 13.12.2022

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Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 13.12.2022

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ZEPHANIAH 3: 1 – 2, 9 – 13

Thus says the Lord: “Woe to her that is rebellious and defiled, the oppressing city! She listens to no voice, she accepts no correction. She does not trust in the Lord, she does not draw near to her God. “Yes, at that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call on the name of the Lord and serve him with one accord. From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, the daughter of my dispersed ones, shall bring my offering. “On that day you shall not be put to shame because of the deeds by which you have rebelled against me; for then I will remove from your midst your proudly exultant ones, and you shall no longer be haughty in my holy mountain. For I will leave in the midst of you a people humble and lowly. They shall seek refuge in the name of the Lord, those who are left in Israel; they shall do no wrong and utter no lies, nor shall there be found in their mouth a deceitful tongue. For they shall pasture and lie down, and nine shall make them afraid.”

The Word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM
Psalm 34: 2 – 3, 6 – 7, 17 – 18, 19, 23 (R.) 7a

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

I will bless the Lord at all times;
praise of him is always in my mouth.
In the Lord my soul shall make its boast;
the humble shall hear and be glad. R/.

Look towards him and be radiant;
let your faces not be abashed.
This lowly one called; the LORD heard,
and rescued him from all his distress. R/.

The Lord turns his face against the wicked
to destroy their remembrance from the earth.
When the just cry out, the Lord hears,
and rescues them in all their distress. R/.

The Lord is close to the broken-hearted;
those whose spirit is crushed he will save.
The Lord ransoms the souls of his servants.
All who trust in him shall not be condemned. R/.

ALLELUIA

Alleluia. Alleluia.
Come, O Lord, do not delay; release your people’s burdens
Alleluia.

GOSPEL
John came and sinners believed in him.
MATTHEW 21: 28 – 32

At that time: Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people, “What do you think? A man had two sons; and he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ And he answered, ‘I will not’; but afterwards he repented and went. And he went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the harlots believed him; and even when you saw it, you did not after wards repent and believe him.”

The Gospel of the Lord.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: It’s Time to Change
December 13, 2022

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people: “What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He came to the first and said, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ The son said in reply, ‘I will not,’ but afterwards he changed his mind and went. (Matthew 21:28–29)

This Gospel passage above is the first part of a two-part story. The first son says he will not go work in the vineyard but changes his mind and goes. The second son says he will go but does not go. Which son are you most like?

Of course, the ideal would be to have said “Yes” to the father and then actually have followed through. But Jesus tells this story to contrast the “prostitutes and tax collectors” with the “chief priests and elders.” Many of these religious leaders of the time were good at saying the right thing, but they failed to act in accord with the will of God. By contrast, the sinners of the age were not always ready to agree at first, but many of them eventually listened to the message of repentance and changed their ways.

So, again, which group are you most like? It’s humbling to admit that we often struggle, especially at first, with embracing all that God asks of us. His commands are radical and require a tremendous amount of integrity and goodness to embrace. For that reason, there are many things we at first refuse to embrace. For example, the act of forgiving another is not always immediately easy. Or making the immediate commitment to daily prayer can be challenging. Or choosing any form of virtue over vice may not come to us without difficulty.

One message of incredible mercy that our Lord reveals to us through this passage is that, as long as we live, it’s never too late to change. Deep down we all know what God wants of us. The problem is that we often allow our confused reasoning or disordered passions to hinder our absolute, immediate and wholehearted response to the will of God. But if we can keep in mind that even the “prostitutes and tax collectors” eventually came around, we will be encouraged to eventually change our ways.

Reflect, today, upon that part of the will of God that is most difficult for you to immediately and wholeheartedly embrace and do. What do you find yourself saying “No” to, at least at first. Resolve to build an interior habit of saying “Yes” to our Lord and following through with His will in every way.

PRAYER:
Precious Lord, give me the grace I need to respond to every prompting of grace in my life. Help me to say “Yes” to You and to follow through with my actions. As I see more clearly the ways I have refused Your grace, give me courage and strength to change so as to more fully conform to Your perfect plan for my life. Jesus, I trust in You.

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