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12th Week in Ordinary Time
The Lord is the strength of his people,
a saving refuge for the one he has anointed.
Save your people, Lord, and bless your heritage,
and govern them for ever. Cf. Ps 28 (27):8-9
Grant, O Lord,
that we may always revere and love your holy name,
for you never deprive of your guidance
those you set firm on the foundation of your love.
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.
2 Kings 19:9b-11, 14-21, 31-35a, 36
Sennacherib, king of Assyria, sent envoys to Hezekiah with this message: “Thus shall you say to Hezekiah, king of Judah: ‘Do not let your God on whom you rely deceive you by saying that Jerusalem will not be handed over to the king of Assyria. You have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all other countries: they doomed them! Will you, then, be saved?’”
Hezekiah took the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; then he went up to the temple of the Lord, and spreading it out before him, he prayed in the Lord’s presence: “O Lord, God of Israel, enthroned upon the cherubim! You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made the heavens and the earth. Incline your ear, O Lord, and listen! Open your eyes, O Lord, and see! Hear the words of Sennacherib which he sent to taunt the living God. Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands, and cast their gods into the fire; they destroyed them because they were not gods, but the work of human hands, wood and stone. Therefore, O Lord, our God, save us from the power of this man, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, O Lord, are God.”
Then Isaiah, son of Amoz, sent this message to Hezekiah: “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, in answer to your prayer for help against Sennacherib, king of Assyria: I have listened! This is the word the Lord has spoken concerning him:
“‘She despises you, laughs you to scorn,
the virgin daughter Zion!
Behind you she wags her head,
“‘For out of Jerusalem shall come a remnant,
and from Mount Zion, survivors.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts shall do this.’
“Therefore, thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria: ‘He shall not reach this city, nor shoot an arrow at it, nor come before it with a shield, nor cast up siege-works against it. He shall return by the same way he came, without entering the city, says the Lord. I will shield and save this city for my own sake, and for the sake of my servant David.’”
That night the angel of the Lord went forth and struck down one hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. So Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, broke camp, and went back home to Nineveh.
R. God upholds his city for ever.
Great is the Lord and wholly to be praised
in the city of our God.
His holy mountain, fairest of heights,
is the joy of all the earth. R.
Mount Zion, “the recesses of the North,”
is the city of the great King.
God is with her castles;
renowned is he as a stronghold. R.
O God, we ponder your mercy
within your temple.
As your name, O God, so also your praise
reaches to the ends of the earth.
Of justice your right hand is full. R.
I am the light of the world, says the Lord;
whoever follows me will have the light of life. Jn 8:12
Matthew 7:6, 12-14
Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.
“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the Law and the Prophets.
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.”
Prayer over the Offerings
Receive, O Lord, the sacrifice of conciliation and praise
and grant that, cleansed by its action,
we may make offering of a heart pleasing to you.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
The eyes of all look to you, Lord,
and you give them their food in due season. Ps 145 (144):15
I am the Good Shepherd,
and I lay down my life for my sheep, says the Lord. Jn 10:11, 15
Prayer after Communion
Renewed and nourished
by the Sacred Body and Precious Blood of your Son,
we ask of your mercy, O Lord,
that what we celebrate with constant devotion
may be our sure pledge of redemption.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Daily Meditation: Matthew 7:6, 12-14
Enter through the narrow gate. (Matthew 7:13)
Most of us have experienced it: you come home from the store, arms laden with shopping bags, and you have to jostle through an entryway that’s about two bags too narrow. Bumping, yanking, turning sideways, you have to put things down to make your way. Perhaps that’s a little like what it is to try to make your way through the narrow gate that Jesus speaks about here. Yes, he really did mean it: the way to life is narrow. It’s so constricted that you have to let go of some heavy and awkward bags to make it through.
There isn’t enough room for you to pass through with the baggage of sin, complacency, or self-righteousness. The way to eternal life requires your attention and effort to be rid of those. Although it can be hard to let go, you don’t have to be stuck. God has given you a place to set down all the baggage: the Sacrament of Reconciliation. There you can be rid of the burdens of a lifetime or of a single heated moment.
It’s not just a matter of self-effort either. The Holy Spirit will help you. The Father has poured out his Holy Spirit to teach you all things (John 14:26). One of the ways he does this is by speaking to your conscience. The Spirit will help you see your sin and how it is hindering you. He will also guide you in the way of truth. Listen for his whispers in your thoughts or gentle nudges of your soul. Expect these, not only during your prayer times or at extraordinary moments, but throughout the day, every day, as you try to enter through that narrow gate.
God doesn’t just point out the narrow gate; he leads you to it and then through it. Because he is holy, he made the gate narrow to keep out that which hinders you from coming close to him. But he also has provided a sure way through that gate—the gift of repentance.
God loves you and wants you to enter into his life. So leave your bags at the gate!
“Lord, I want to set down my bags today. Help me to trust your Holy Spirit to lead me through the narrow gate.”
2 Kings 19:9-11, 14-21, 31-36
Psalm 48:2-4, 10-11
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