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Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 20.07.2023

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Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 20.07.2023

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EXODUS 3: 13 – 20

In those days: [Hearing the voice of the Lord out of the midst of the bush,] Moses said to God, “If I come to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you, ’and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.”’ God also said to Moses, “Say this to the sons of Israel, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you’: this is my name for ever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations. Go and gather the elders of Israel together, and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, “I have observed you and what has been done to you in Egypt; and I promise that I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt, to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey.”’ And they will listen to your voice; and you and the elders of Israel shall go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us; and now, we beg you, let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.’ I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless compelled by a mighty hand. So I will stretch out my hand and strike Egypt with all the wonders which I will do in it; after that he will let you go.”

The Word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM
Psalm 105: 1 and 5, 8 – 9, 24 – 25, 26 – 27 (R.) 8a

R/. The Lord remembers his covenant forever.
Or:
Alleluia.

Give thanks to the Lord; proclaim his name.
Make known his deeds among the peoples.
Remember the wonders he has done,
his marvels and his words of judgement. R/.

He remembers his covenant forever:
The promise he ordained for a thousand generations,
the covenant he made with Abraham,
the oath he swore to Isaac. R/.

He gave his people great increase;
He made them stronger than their foes,
whose hearts he turned to hate his people,
and to deal deceitfully with his servants. R/.

Then he sent Moses his servant,
and Aaron whom he had chosen.
They performed God’s signs among them,
and his wonders in the land of Ham. R/.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION
Matthew 11: 28

Alleluia.
Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest, says the Lord.
Alleluia.

GOSPEL
“I am gentle and lowly in heart.”
MATTHEW 11: 28 – 30

At that time: Jesus declared, “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and l will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

The Gospel of the Lord.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: The Yoke of Christ
July 20, 2023

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Matthew 11:29–30)

For those first followers of Jesus, a “yoke” was a familiar term. Many would have worked with oxen and other animals on a regular basis to plow their fields. To do so, they would place a wooden yoke over the oxen, which was a form of harness that was also attached to the plow, making it easier for the oxen to till the soil. To be strapped with a yoke was an indication of servitude, since that was the role of the oxen.

In commenting upon this passage, Saint Augustine (in Sermon 126) analogized the yoke of Christ with the wings of a bird. A bird’s wings are large in comparison to its body. As a result, if someone were to conclude that removing the wings from a bird would make its life easier by ridding it of that excess weight, such an action would have the effect of keeping it bound to the earth. But give its wings back and that “yoke” will enable it to soar through the skies.

So it is with the yoke of our Lord. If we accept the invitation to be a servant of God and we take upon ourselves the yoke of Christ for the fulfillment of our mission of service, we will discover that the act of serving lightens us, refreshes us, invigorates us and energizes us. Service of God is what we are made for, just as a bird is made to have wings. And like the bird, if we remove the yoke of service of God from our lives, then we are weighed down and cannot accomplish the good we are meant to do.

We are also told in this passage that we are not to carry our yoke; rather, we are meant to carry Christ’s yoke. “Take my yoke upon you…,” Jesus said. Carrying Jesus’ yoke means we are called to live our lives with Him and in Him. He came to serve and to give His life for others. It is our duty to do the same by allowing Him to do so within us. It is Christ and His servitude that must be the motivation and foundation of our lives.

Reflect, today, upon your call to be a servant in Christ. How is God calling you to serve? Whom is God calling you to serve? And as you answer that question, how do you see your act of service? Does service seem burdensome to you? Or do you understand that it is what you are made for? If you do see humble service as a burden, then perhaps that is because you have not actually tried to serve with and in Christ Himself. Try to ponder Jesus placing His yoke upon your shoulders. Say “Yes” to that act and to the mission of humble service you are called to fulfill. Doing so wholeheartedly will not only refresh you, it will also give meaning and purpose to your life.

PRAYER:
My gentle Lord, You came to us to serve and to give Your life out of love. Give me the grace I need to accept Your act of service to me and to also imitate and participate in the service to which I am called. May I take Your yoke upon me, dear Lord, so that I can fulfill the mission that You have entrusted to me. Jesus, I trust in You.

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