Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 16.08.2022

EZEKIEL 28: 1 – 10

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, Thus says the Lord GOD: “Because your heart is proud, and you have said, ‘I am a god, I sit in the seat of the gods, in the heart of the seas,’ yet you are but a man, and no god, though you consider yourself as wise as a god — you are indeed wiser than Daniel; no secret is hidden from you; by your wisdom and your understanding you have gotten wealth for yourself, and have gathered gold and silver into your treasuries; by your great wisdom in trade you have increased your wealth, and your heart has become proud in your wealth — therefore thus says the Lord God: “Because you consider yourself as wise as a god, therefore, behold, I will bring strangers upon you, the most terrible of the nations; and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom and defile your splendour. They shall thrust you down into the Pit, and you shall die the death of the slain in the heart of the seas. Will you still say, ‘I am a god,’ in the presence of those who slay you, though you are but a man, and no god, in the hands of those who wound you? You shall die the death of the uncircumcised by the hand of foreigners; for I have spoken, says the Lord God.”

The Word of the Lord

RESPONSORIAL PSALM
Deuteronomy 32: 26 – 27ab, 27cd – 28, 30, 35cd – 36ab

R/. I kill and I make alive

“I would have said, ‘I will scatter them afar,
I will make the remembrance
of them cease from among men,’
had I not feared provocation by the enemy,
lest their adversaries should judge amiss.” R/.

“Lest they should say, ‘Our hand is triumphant,
the Lord has not wrought all this. ’
For they are a nation void of counsel,
and there is no understanding in them.” R/.

“How should one chase a thousand,
and two put ten thousand to flight,
unless their Rock had sold them,
and the Lord had given them up?” R/.

“For the day of their calamity is at hand,
and their doom comes swiftly.
For the Lord will vindicate his people
and have compassion on his servants.” R/.

ALLELUIA
2nd Corinthians 8: 9

Alleluia.
Though Jesus Christ was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.
Alleluia

GOSPEL
“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.”
MATTHEW 19: 23 – 30

At that time: Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Then Peter said in reply, “Behold, we have left everything and followed you. What then shall we have?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of man shall sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. But many that are first will be last, and the last first.”

The Gospel of the Lord
REFLECTION: Being First!
August 16, 2022

“But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.” (Matthew 19:30)

This little line, tucked in at the end of today’s Gospel, reveals much. It reveals a contradiction between worldly success and eternal success. So often we seek out worldly success and fail to seek the riches that last for eternity.

Let’s start with the “many who are first.” Who are these people? To understand this we must understand the difference between the “world” and the “Kingdom of God.” The world refers to a purely vain popularity within any given culture. Success, prestige, vainglory, and the like accompany worldly popularity and success. The evil one is the lord of this world and will often seek to raise up those who serve his unholy will. But in so doing, many of us are enticed by and drawn to this form of notoriety. This is a problem, especially when we begin to take our identity in the opinions of others.

The “many who are first” are those whom the world elevates as icons and models of this popular success. This is a general statement that certainly does not apply to every particular situation and person. But the general tendency should be acknowledged. And according to this Scripture, those who get drawn into this life will be “last” in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Contrast this with those who are “first” in the Kingdom of God. These holy souls may or may not be honored in this world. Some may see their goodness and honor them (like Saint Mother Teresa was honored), but very often they are put down and considered undesirable in a worldly way.

What’s more important? What do you honestly prefer for all eternity? Do you prefer to be well thought of in this life, even if it means compromising values and the truth? Or are your eyes fixed on the truth and eternal rewards?

Reflect, today, upon the goal of building up treasure in Heaven and the eternal reward promised to those who live lives of fidelity. There is nothing wrong with being well thought of by others in this world, but you must never allow such a desire to dominate you or dissuade you from keeping your eyes on that which is eternal. Reflect upon how well you do this and seek to make the rewards of Heaven your exclusive goal.

PRAYER:
My eternal Lord, please help me to seek You and Your Kingdom above all else. May pleasing You and serving Your most holy will be my one and only desire in life. Help me to shed the unhealthy concerns of worldly notoriety and popularity, concerning myself only with what You think. I give to You, dear Lord, my whole being. Jesus, I trust in You.

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