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Mass Reading & Meditation for August 21, 2019 View another date

Meditation: Judges 9:6-15

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Saint Pius X, Pope (Memorial)

Entrance Antiphon

The Lord chose him for himself as high priest,
and, opening his treasure house,
made him rich in all good things.
Behold a great priest, who in his days pleased God;
therefore, in accordance with his promise,
the Lord gave him growth for the good of his people. Cf. Sir 50:1; 44:16, 22


O God, who to safeguard the Catholic faith
and to restore all things in Christ,
filled Pope Saint Pius the Tenth
with heavenly wisdom and apostolic fortitude,
graciously grant
that, following his teaching and example,
we may gain an eternal prize.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Judges 9:6-15

All the citizens of Shechem and all Beth-millo came together and proceeded to make Abimelech king by the terebinth at the memorial pillar in Shechem.

When this was reported to him, Jotham went to the top of Mount Gerizim and, standing there, cried out to them in a loud voice: “Hear me, citizens of Shechem, that God may then hear you! Once the trees went to anoint a king over themselves. So they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us.’ But the olive tree answered them, ‘Must I give up my rich oil, whereby men and gods are honored, and go to wave over the trees?’ Then the trees said to the fig tree, ‘Come; you reign over us!’ But the fig tree answered them, ‘Must I give up my sweetness and my good fruit, and go to wave over the trees?’ Then the trees said to the vine, ‘Come you, and reign over us.’ But the vine answered them, ‘Must I give up my wine that cheers gods and men, and go to wave over the trees?’ Then all the trees said to the buckthorn, ‘Come; you reign over us!’ But the buckthorn replied to the trees, ‘If you wish to anoint me king over you in good faith, come and take refuge in my shadow. Otherwise, let fire come from the buckthorn and devour the cedars of Lebanon.’”

Psalm 21

R. Lord, in your strength the king is glad.
O Lord, in your strength the king is glad;
in your victory how greatly he rejoices!
You have granted him his heart’s desire;
you refused not the wish of his lips. R.
For you welcomed him with goodly blessings,
you placed on his head a crown of pure gold.
He asked life of you: you gave him
length of days forever and ever. R.
Great is his glory in your victory;
majesty and splendor you conferred upon him.
You made him a blessing forever,
you gladdened him with the joy of your face. R.

Gospel Acclamation

Alleluia, alleluia.
The word of God is living and effective,
able to discern the reflections and thoughts of the heart. Heb 4:12
Alleluia, alleluia.

Matthew 20:1-16

Jesus told his disciples this parable: “The Kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. Going out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.’ So they went off. And he went out again around noon, and around three o’clock, and did likewise. Going out about five o’clock, he found others standing around, and said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’ When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and ending with the first.’ When those who had started about five o’clock came, each received the usual daily wage. So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage. And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘These last ones worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’ He said to one of them in reply, ‘My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?’ Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

Prayer over the Offerings

Receive with kindness our oblations
and grant, O Lord, we pray,
that, following the teachings of Pope Saint Pius,
we may celebrate these divine mysteries with sincere reverence
and receive them in a spirit of faith.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Communion Antiphon

The Good Shepherd has laid down his life
for his sheep. Cf. Jn 10:11

Prayer after Communion

Celebrating the Memorial of Pope Saint Pius,
we pray, O Lord our God,
that by the power of this heavenly table
we may be made constant in the faith
and be of one accord in your love.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Daily Meditation: Judges 9:6-15

Reign over us. (Judges 9:8)

The parable in our first reading today might seem hard to decode, but like Aesop’s fables, it contains a universal lesson about human beings and their ways. In this case, the people of Israel who want a king are represented by trees. The “buckthorn” who agrees to be their king is a man named Abimelech, who is as unfit to rule as a buckthorn is to provide shade from the sun. Yet the people would rather take their chances with Abimelech than stay close to God and find out his plan.

If you look closely, these foolish trees share something in common with the critical workers from Jesus’ parable—the ones who don’t like the generosity of the man who hired them. They too think they know better. The problem in both cases is that mistrust is really what “reigns.”

We can all fall into this “I know best” mentality at times. A higher-up’s decision at work makes us roll our eyes. In a conversation with our spouse or children, we push for our own plans with urgency, not pausing to think about other people’s ideas, let alone thank them. We can even do this in our relationship with God when we approach prayer by saying, “Please do this” or “Make this outcome happen.” While it’s not wrong to make our desires known to God, it might be good to do a “trust check” every once in a while. It could look something like this:

What is at the heart of my prayer? Do I believe in God’s perfect love and perfect judgment? Am I open to his will, even if it means letting things go on as they are for a bit longer? Do I believe that God is working, even now?

So many situations you face are not God’s will; they are consequences of sin, sickness, and people’s bad judgment. Yet God is with you in a special way when you trust in him. When you believe that he has authority over your circumstances, he reigns as king—and you become better able to participate in his plan. So instead of trying to tell God what to do, try asking him to show you what he is doing. Let him show you how to be part of it. Let him reign.

“Jesus, show me how to participate in your plan.”

Psalm 21:2-7
Matthew 20:1-16

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