Sunday, July 6, 2008

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

100A Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Catechism Links
CCC 514-521: knowledge of mysteries of Christ, communion in his mysteries
CCC 238-242: the Father is revealed by the Son
CCC 989-990: the resurrection of the body

Back to Deacon’s Bench '08
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Reading 1
Zec 9:9-10

Thus says the LORD:
Rejoice heartily, O daughter Zion,
shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king shall come to you;
a just savior is he,
meek, and riding on an ass,
on a colt, the foal of an ass.
He shall banish the chariot from Ephraim,
and the horse from Jerusalem;
the warrior’s bow shall be banished,
and he shall proclaim peace to the nations.
His dominion shall be from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 145:1-2, 8-9, 10-11, 13-14

R. (cf. 1) I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
or:
R. Alleluia.
I will extol you, O my God and King,
and I will bless your name forever and ever.
Every day will I bless you,
and I will praise your name forever and ever.
R. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The Lord is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The Lord is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Let all your works give you thanks, O Lord,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The Lord is faithful in all his words
and holy in all his works.
The Lord lifts up all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.
R. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading II
Rom 8:9, 11-13

Brothers and sisters:
You are not in the flesh;
on the contrary, you are in the spirit,
if only the Spirit of God dwells in you.
Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you,
the one who raised Christ from the dead
will give life to your mortal bodies also,
through his Spirit that dwells in you.
Consequently, brothers and sisters,
we are not debtors to the flesh,
to live according to the flesh.
For if you live according to the flesh, you will die,
but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body,
you will live.

Gospel
Mt 11:25-30

At that time Jesus exclaimed:
“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to little ones.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows the Son except the Father,
and no one knows the Father except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.
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.”

Readings from the Jerusalem Bible

First reading Zechariah 9:9 – 10

Rejoice heart and soul, daughter of Zion!
Shout with gladness, daughter of Jerusalem!
See now, your king comes to you;
he is victorious, he is triumphant,
humble and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
He’ will banish chariots from Ephraim
and horses from Jerusalem;
the bow of war will be banished.
He will proclaim peace for the nations.
His empire shall stretch from sea to sea,
from the River to the ends of the earth.

Psalm: Psalm 144:1-2,8-11,13-14

I will bless your name for ever, O God my King.
or
Alleluia!

I will give you glory, O God my king,
  I will bless your name for ever.
I will bless you day after day
  and praise your name for ever.

I will bless your name for ever, O God my King.
or
Alleluia!

The Lord is kind and full of compassion,
  slow to anger, abounding in love.
How good is the Lord to all,
  compassionate to all his creatures.

I will bless your name for ever, O God my King.
or
Alleluia!

All your creatures shall thank you, O Lord,
  and your friends shall repeat their blessing.
They shall speak of the glory of your reign
  and declare your might, O God.

I will bless your name for ever, O God my King.
or
Alleluia!

The Lord is faithful in all his words
  and loving in all his deeds.
The Lord supports all who fall
  and raises all who are bowed down.

I will bless your name for ever, O God my King.
or
Alleluia!

Second reading Romans 8:9 – 13

Your interests are not in the unspiritual, but in the spiritual, since the Spirit of God has made his home in you. In fact, unless you possessed the Spirit of Christ you would not belong to him, and if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, then he who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to your own mortal bodies through his Spirit living in you.

So then, my brothers, there is no necessity for us to obey our unspiritual selves or to live unspiritual lives. If you do live in that way, you are doomed to die; but if by the Spirit you put an end to the misdeeds of the body you will live.

Gospel Matthew 11:25 - 30
At that time Jesus exclaimed, ‘I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children. Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do. Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, just as no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

‘Come to me, all you who labor and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.’

Readings and Commentary from the Navarre Bible

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Zechariah 9:9-10

The arrival of the Messiah
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[9] Rejoice greatly. O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Lo, your king comes to you;
triumphant and victorious is he,
humble and riding on an ass,
on a colt the foal of an ass.
[10] I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
and the war horse from Jerusalem;
and the battle how shall he cut off,
and he shall command peace to the nations;
his dominion shall be from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.

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Commentary:

9:1-14:21. The prophecies concerning the new circumstances of Jerusalem and Judah in chapters 7-8 give way now to two long oracles describing how that definitive time will he established by the Messiah (chaps. 9-10), and how the kingdom of God will come about (chaps. 12-14). Worked in among these themes are short prophetical pieces which are apparently anonymous, for there is no mention of Zechariah in them and no dates are given. The two oracles start in the same way: “An oracle. The word of the Lord ...”(9:1; 12:1), a formula which is also used at the start of the book of Malachi (Mal 1:1). Because this construction is found on only these three occasions in the Old Testament, the three pieces are thought to come from some third source and to have found their way into the biblical text here -- two into the book of Zechariah and one into that of Malachi.

9:1-11:17. This first oracle includes two prophetical proclamations -- one about the advent of the Messiah king (9:1-10:12), and the other about the rejection of the good shepherd who tries to lead the people along the paths of faithfulness and unity, (11:1-17). The first one starts with a prophetical description of the victorious progress of the Lord as he makes his way down to Jerusalem from the north (9:1-8); then the city is invited to rejoice at the arrival of its king (9:9-10); and finally the restoration of Israel is proclaimed (9:11-17).

9:9-10. The prophet now speaks directly to Jerusalem (“daughter of Zion”) and her citizens (“daughter of Jerusalem”) as representatives of the entire chosen people. An invitation to rejoice and celebrate is often found in the Old Testament in connexion with the arrival of the messianic era (cf. Is 12:6; 54:1; Zeph 3:14); here it is issued because Jerusalem’s king is arriving. Although the text does not say so explicitly, it is implied that he is the descendant of David; there is an echo here of 2 Samuel 7:12-16 and Isaiah 7:14. This king is distinguished by what he is and what he does. The word “triumphant” translates the Hebrew saddiq, which means “just”: he does the will of God perfectly; and the term “victorious’ means that he enjoys divine protection and salvation. The Septuagint and the Vulgate, however, read it as meaning that he was the saviour. He is also “humble”, that is, he is not boastful in the presence of either God or men. He is peaceable -- as can be seen from the fact that he rides not on a horse like kings of the time but on an ass, like the princes of ancient times (cf. Gen 49:11; Judg 5:10; 10:4; 12:14). He will cause the weapons of war to disappear from Samaria and Judah (cf. Is 2:4, 7; Mic 5:9), who will form a single, united people; and he will also establish peace among the nations (v. 10). This king has features similar to those of the “servant of the Lord” of whom Isaiah spoke (cf. Is 53:11) and to those of the lowly people whom God found acceptable (cf. Zeph 2:3; 3:12). Our Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled this prophecy when he entered Jerusalem before the Passover and was acclaimed by the crowd as the Messiah, the Son of David (cf. Mt 21:1-5; Jn 12:14). “The ‘King of glory’ (Ps 24:7-10) enters his City ‘riding on an ass’ (Zech 9:9). Jesus conquers the Daughter of Zion, a figure of his Church, neither by ruse nor by violence, but by the humility that bears witness to the truth (cf. Jn 18:37)” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 559). In an allegorical reading, Clement of Alexandria takes the young ass of v. 9 to stand for people who are not subject to evil: “It was not enough to say a ‘colt’; the sacred writer added, ‘the foal of an ass’, to emphasize the youth of the humanity of Christ, his eternal youth. The divine groom tends to us and trains us, the youngest, smallest colts (Paedagogus, 1, 15, 1).

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From: Romans 8:9, 11-13

Life in the Spirit
----------------------
[9] But you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God really dwells in you. Any one who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

[11] "If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit who dwells in you." [12] So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh--[13] for if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live.

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Commentary:

1-13. After original sin man is pulled in two different directions: either he seeks God above all things and contends, with God's grace, against the inclinations of his own concupiscence; or else he lets himself be overwhelmed by the disordered passions of the flesh. The former lifestyle is "life in the Spirit", the latter, life "according to the flesh". "There are only two possible ways of living on this earth: either we live a supernatural life, or we live an animal life" ([St] J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 200).

Sanctifying grace is the source of life "according to the Spirit". It is not a matter of simply being in the state of grace or of performing a number of regular pious practices. Life according to the Spirit--spiritual or supernatural life--means a living-according-to-God which influences everything a Christian does: he is constantly trying to bring his thoughts, yearnings, desires and actions into line with what God is asking of him; in everything he does he tries to follow the inspirations of the Holy Spirit.

Life according to the flesh, on the other hand, has its source in the triple concupiscence which is a consequence of original sin--"all that is in the world the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life" (1 Jn 2:16). In this present life it is not possible to kill concupiscence at its root: it is forever producing new growths. The Christian is freed from original sin through Baptism (chap. 6); the coming of Christ has set aside the ritualistic precepts of the Mosaic Law (chap. 7); but his life in Jesus Christ is threatened by concupiscence even after Baptism, which places him under the Law of the Spirit. "We need to submit to the spirit, to wholeheartedly commit ourselves and strive to keep the flesh in its place. By so doing our flesh will become spiritual again. Otherwise, if we give in to the easy life, this will lower our soul to the level of the flesh and make it carnal again" (St John Chrysostom, "Hom. on Rom", 13).

10-11. Once he is justified the Christian lives in the grace of God and confidently hopes in his future resurrection; Christ Himself lives in him (cf. Galatians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 15:20-23). However, he is not spared the experience of death, a consequence of Original Sin (cf. Romans 5:12; 6:23). Along with suffering, concupiscence and other limitations, death is still a factor after Baptism; it is something which motivates us to struggle and makes us to be like Christ. Almost all commentators interpret the expression "your bodies are dead because of sin" as referring to the fact that, due to sin, the human body is destined to die. So sure is this prospect of death that the Apostle sees the body as "already dead".

St. John Chrysostom makes an acute observation: if Christ is living in the Christian, then the divine Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity, is also present in him. If this divine Spirit is absent, then indeed death reigns supreme, and with it the wrath of God, rejection of His laws, separation from Christ, and expulsion of our Guest. And he adds: "But when one has the Spirit within, what can be lacking? With the Spirit one belongs to Christ, one possesses Him, one vies for honor with the angels. With the Spirit, the flesh is crucified, one tastes the delight of an immortal life, one has a pledge of future resurrection and advances rapidly on the path of virtue. This is what Paul calls putting the flesh to death" ("Hom. On Rom.", 13).

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From: Matthew 11:25-30

Jesus Thanks His Father
------------------------------------
[25] At that time Jesus declared, "I thank Thee, Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, that Thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; [26] yea, Father, for such was Thy gracious will. [27] All things have been delivered to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him. [28] Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. [29] 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. [30] For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light."

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Commentary:

25-26. The wise and understanding of this world, that is, those who rely on their own judgment, cannot accept the revelation which Christ has brought us. Supernatural outlook is always connected with humility. A humble person, who gives

himself little importance, sees; a person who is full of self-esteem fails to perceive supernatural things.

27. Here Jesus formally reveals His divinity. Our knowledge of a person shows our intimacy with Him, according to the principle given by St. Paul: "For what person knows a man's thoughts except the spirit of the man which is in him?" (1 Corinthians 2:11). The Son knows the Father by the same knowledge as that by which the Father knows the Son. This identity of knowledge implies oneness of nature; that is to say, Jesus is God just as the Father is God.

28-30. Our Lord calls everyone to come to Him. We all find things difficult in one way or another. The history of souls bears out the truth of these words of Jesus. Only the Gospel can fully satisfy the thirst for truth and justice which sincere people feel. Only our Lord, our Master--and those to whom He passes on His power -- can soothe the sinner by telling him, "Your sins are forgiven" (Matthew 9:2). In this connection Pope Paul VI teaches: "Jesus says now and always, 'Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.' His attitude towards us is one of invitation, knowledge and compassion; indeed, it is one of offering, promise, friendship, goodness, remedy of our ailments; He is our comforter; indeed, our nourishment, our bread, giving us energy and life" ("Homily on Corpus Christi", 13 June 1974).

"Come to Me": the Master is addressing the crowds who are following Him, "harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd" (Matthew 9:36). The Pharisees weighed them down with an endless series of petty regulations (cf. Acts 15:10), yet they brought no peace to their souls. Jesus tells these people, and us, about the kind of burden He imposes: "Any other burden oppresses and crushes you, but Christ's actually takes weight off you. Any other burden weighs down, but Christ's gives you wings. If you take a bird's wings away, you might seem to be taking weight off it, but the more weight you take off, the more you tie it down to the earth. There it is on the ground, and you wanted to relieve it of a weight; give it back the weight of its wings and you will see how it flies" (St. Augustine, "Sermon" 126).

"All you who go about tormented, afflicted and burdened with the burden of your cares and desires, go forth from them, come to Me and I will refresh you and you shall find for your souls the rest which your desires take from you" (St. John of the Cross, "Ascent of Mount Carmel", Book 1, Chapter 7, 4).

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Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and by Scepter Publishers in the United States. We encourage readers to purchase The Navarre Bible for personal study. See Scepter Publishers for details.

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