Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 15.07.2022

ISAIAH 38 : 1 – 6, 21 – 22, 7 – 8

In those days, Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: Set your house in order; for you shall die, you shall not recover.” Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall, and prayed to the Lord, and said, “Remember now, O Lord, I beseech you, how I have walked before you in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: “Go and say to Hezekiah, Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will add fifteen years to your life. I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and defend this city.” Now Isaiah had said, “Let them take a cake of figs, and apply it to the boil, that he may recover.” Hezekiah also had said, “What is the sign that I shall go up to the house of the LORD?” (Isaiah answered.) “This is the sign to you from the Lord, that the Lord will do this thing that ‘he has promised: Behold, I will make the shadow cast by the declining sun on the dial of Ahaz turn back ten steps.” So the sun turned back on the dial the ten steps by which it had declined.

The Word of the Lord

RESPONSORIAL PSALM
Isaiah 38: 10 – 12abcd, 16 (R.) 17cd

R/. O Lord, you have snatched my soul lest it perish.

I said, In the noontide of my days
I must depart;
I am consigned to the gates of Sheol
for the rest of my years. R/.

I said, I shall not see the Lord
in the land of the living;
I shall look upon man no more
among the inhabitants of the world. R/.

My dwelling is plucked up and removed from me
Like a shepherd’s tent;
Like a weaver I have rolled up my life;
He cuts me off from the loom. R/.

O Lord, by these things men live,
And in all these is the life of my spirit.
Oh, restore me to health and make me live! R/.

ALLELUIA  
John 10: 27

Alleluia.
My sheep hear my voice; says the Lord; and I know them, and they follow me.
Alleluia

GOSPEL
“The Son of man is lord of the sabbath.”
MATTHEW 12: 1 – 8

At that time: Jesus went through the grain fields on the sabbath; his disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the sabbath.” He said to them, “Have you not read what David did, when he was hungry, and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the law how on the sabbath the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than, the temple is here. And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you could not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is lord of the sabbath.”

The Gospel of the Lord
REFLECTION: I Desire Mercy
July 15, 2022

“If you knew what this meant, I desire mercy, not sacrifice, you would not have condemned these innocent men.” (Matthew 12:7)

The Apostles of Jesus were hungry and they picked heads of grain as they walk along to satisfy their hunger. As a result, the Pharisees condemned the Apostles for doing what they claimed was “unlawful” on the Sabbath. They claimed that picking heads of grain as they walked along was considered “work” and, thus, they violated the law requiring rest on the Sabbath.

Really? Did the Pharisees seriously think that the Apostles sinned by picking grain as they walked along to satisfy their hunger? Hopefully it’s not hard for us to see the absurdity and irrationality of this condemnation. The Apostles did nothing wrong but were condemned nonetheless. They were “innocent men” as Jesus points out.

Jesus responds to the irrationality of the Pharisees by reminding them of the Scripture, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” And He points out that the Apostles were wrongly condemned because the Pharisees do not understand this passage and this command from God for mercy.

The Sabbath commandment to rest was from God. But the commandment to rest was not a requirement for its own sake. This was not some legal requirement that somehow honored God just by strictly keeping it. The Sabbath rest was primarily a gift from God to humanity in that God knew we needed rest and rejuvenation. He knew we needed time each week to slow down, offer special worship to God and enjoy the company of others. But the Pharisees turned the Sabbath rest into a burden. They made it out to be a strict legalistic observance that did nothing to glorify God or refresh the human spirit.

One key truth we can learn from this passage is that God calls us to interpret His law through the eyes of mercy. Mercy always refreshes us, lifts us up and fills us with new energy. It motivates us to worship and fills us with hope. Mercy does not impose a heavy legalistic burden upon us; rather, God’s mercy and law together rejuvenates us and refreshes us.

Reflect, today, upon how you look at God’s commands and His law. Do you see it as a legalistic and burdensome requirement? Or do you see it as a blessing of God’s mercy meant to lighten your load?

PRAYER:
My merciful Lord, help me to love Your law. Help me to truly see it in the light of Your mercy and grace. May I be refreshed by all You command and be lifted up by Your will. Jesus, I trust in You.

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