Sunday, August 18, 2013

Today's Mass Reading - Sunday, August 18, 2013 with Reflection

1ST READING - Jeremiah 38:4-6, 8-10
In those days, the princes said to the king: “Jeremiah ought to be put to death; he is demoralizing the soldiers who are left in this city, and all the people, by speaking such things to them; he is not interested in the welfare of our people, but in their ruin.” King Zedekiah answered, “He is in your power;” for the king could do nothing with them. And so they took Jeremiah and threw him into the cistern of Prince Malchiah, which was in the quarters of the guard, letting him down with ropes. There was no water in the cistern, only mud, and Jeremiah sank into the mud. Ebed-melech, a court official, went there from the palace and said to him: “My lord king, these men have been at fault in all they have done to the prophet Jeremiah, casting him into the cistern. He will die of famine on the spot, for there is no more food in the city.” 10 Then the king ordered Ebed-melech the Cushite to take three men along with him, and draw the prophet Jeremiah out of the cistern before he should die.
P S A L M - Psalm 40:2, 3, 4, 18
R: Lord, come to my aid!
1 [2] I have waited, waited for the Lord, and he stooped toward me. (R) The Lord heard my cry. 2 [3] He drew me out of the pit of destruction, out of the mud of the swamp; he set my feet upon a crag; he made firm my steps. (R) 3 [4] And he put a new song into my mouth, a hymn to our God. Many shall look on in awe and trust in the Lord. (R) 17 [18] Though I am afflicted and poor, yet the Lord thinks of me. You are my help and my deliverer; O my God, hold not back! (R)
2nd READING - Hebrews 12:1-4
Brothers and sisters: Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us andpersevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith. For the sake of the joy that lay before him he endured the cross, despising its shame, and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God. 3Consider how he endured such opposition from sinners, in order that you may not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me.
Luke 12:49-53
49 Jesus said to his disciples: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! 50 There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! 51 Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. 52 From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; 53 a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”


The Gospel today introduces Jesus as an ambassador of division. Very un-Jesus like. What happened to His mission to bring peace on earth? Incarnation was meant to bring peace on earth. Instead, we now hear Him say, “I have come to bring fire upon the earth and how I wish it were already kindled.” He openly declared His intention to destroy and even stressed Hisimpatience for its coming. Later He even added, “Do you think that I have come to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.”
       We should, however, put His statements in context. Jesus, who knew human nature perfectly, was also talking about the effect of His presence. He knew that among members of the family, friends and all other groups, He will be a cause for differences, disputes, fights and division. The commandments of Jesus would affect even the closest of ties. We have heard of members of families going their own way, choosing their own faith. Choosing a religion is a very important and necessary conviction for a person. Even our Constitution guarantees that. Indeed, if we fail to respect and understand each other’s beliefs, we will separate.
       But division is not Jesus’ ultimate goal. He meant it as a stage before, hopefully, unity in Him. Paul professed that, “All will be united in Christ!”Because that is how it is meant to be. Division, if it comes, should serve as a challenge and a transition. Let Jesus’ words be a test of fire. And let Jesus’ actions be a disturbing witness of His person.
       A priest-friend had a sister who belonged to a different faith. Rather thanfight or vigorously discuss with her the differences of their faith, he dwelt onwhat they had in common. He did not force his faith on her. He respected her and her faith sincerely. He showed Christian love. He did not raise religion as the main issue. For so long, they worshipped in different churches. But the time came when his sister recognized the beauty and truth of his faith. Now, they worship together. Division was there in the beginning, but unity had the final say. And so it will be for all of us on Judgment Day. Fr. Benny Tuazon
REFLECTION QUESTIONS: How do you handle differences in beliefs among your friends and family members? Do you insist on your own or do you let them be?
 Lord Jesus, may I have Your patience to understand that people can be different, with varying beliefs, and yet still be united with You.

St. Jane Frances de Chantal, pray for us.

Angelo Gene Kapunan, pray for us.

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