Ps 85:9, 11-12, 13-14
The Lord speaks of peace to his people.
20TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Psalter: Week 4 / (Green)
1st Reading: Jdg 6:11-24a
The angel of Yahweh came and sat under the sacred tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash, of the family of Abiezer. Gideon, the son of Joash, was threshing the wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites.
The angel of Yahweh said to him, “Yahweh be with you, valiant warrior.” Gideon answered, “Please, my lord, if Yahweh is with us, why is all this happening to us? Where are the wonders which our fathers recounted to us? Did they not say that Yahweh led them up from Egypt? Why has he abandoned us now and given us into the hands of the Midianites?”
Yahweh then turned to him and said, “Go, and with your courage, save Israel from the Midianites. It is I who send you.” Gideon answered: “Pardon me, Lord, but how can I save Israel? My family is the lowliest in my tribe and I am the least in the family of my father.”
Yahweh said to him, “I will be with you and you shall defeat the people of Midian with one single stroke.” Gideon said to him, “Please give me a sign that it is indeed you who speak. Do not leave until I return with an offering and present it to you.” Yahweh responded, “I am going to wait for you here.”
Gideon went and prepared a young goat, took a measure of flour and baked unleavened bread. He put the broth in a pot and the meat in a basket, and went to present them to the angel under the tree. Then the angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the bread; put them on this rock, and pour the broth over them.” Gideon did so. At that moment, the angel of Yahweh extended the staff he was holding and touched the meat and the bread. Suddenly, fire blazed from the rock. The fire consumed the meat and the bread, and the angel of Yahweh disappeared.
Gideon realized that he was the angel of Yahweh and said, “Alas, O Lord Yahweh! I have seen the angel of Yahweh face to face.” But Yahweh said to him, “Peace be with you. Do not fear for you shall not die.” Gideon built an altar to Yahweh in that place and called it Yahweh-Peace.
Gospel: Mt 19:23-30
Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I say to you: it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Yes, believe me: it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of the needle than for the one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.”
On hearing this, the disciples were astonished and said, “Who, then, can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and answered, “For human beings it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.”
Then Peter spoke up and said, “You see, we have given up everything to follow you. What, then, will there be for us?”
Jesus answered, “You, who have followed me, listen to my words: on the Day of Renewal, when the Son of Man sits on his throne in glory, you, also, will sit, on twelve thrones, to judge the twelve tribes of Israel. As for those who have left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children or property for my Name’s sake, they will receive a hundredfold, and be given eternal life. Many who are now ?rst, will be last, and many who are now last, will be ?rst.”
Picture yourself entering a big supermarket or a big department store. There your eyes are assailed by rows upon rows of the newest products the market place offers, be it food delicacies of all kinds or fancy gadgets of all types. What do you feel then? Are you dazzled by such a spectacle? Are you tempted to get your hands on some of the products exhibited on the shelves? Do you feel a tremendous urge to go on a shopping spree and to buy everything in sight? If so, then you are not a free person. You are in the throes of greed and you are worshipping the idol WEALTH. Because an idol is anything to which your heart belongs. Be it pleasures, honors, reputation, fame, power—it does not matter. It is a form of WEALTH and you are its slave. That is why in today’s gospel reading Jesus warns us that the rich cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven. Why not? Because the door of the kingdom is narrow (Mt 7:13-14). And, if you carry any kind of WEALTH with you, you simply cannot pass through. You must leave your idol behind. Are you willing to do that?
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