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The Readings for July 25-30

Submitted by on Sunday, 24 July 2011No Comment


This week’s Gospel readings is a lectio cursiva of Matthew 13-14, continuing the parable of the wheat and the tares until the account of the Baptist’s death. There are however two feasts that break the continuous reading. Monday is the feast of St. James the Greater, one of the Zebedee brothers. The memorial of Sts. Joachim and Anne, the parents of the Mother of the Lord, do not disturb the selected readings for Ordinary Time for Tuesday. On Friday, we celebrate the memorial of St. Martha, and so selections from the sanctoral are also recommended. For the Old Testament readings, selected passages from the post-Sinai narratives are given except on the Feast of St. James when a selection from 2 Corinthians is read.

July 25 Feast of St. James: The Day’s Readings for the Feast of St. James

St. James the Greater is said to have gone to Galicia (Spain) as a missionary. Legends have it that after his martyrdom in 44 by Herod Agrippa, he was miraculously transported back to Spain. Santiago di Compostela is his shrine. His ministry of the gospel is a treasure hidden in an earthen vessel, as Paul would say. The first reading (2 Corinthians 4:7-15) is Paul’s description of the work of an apostle as a participation in the Paschal Mystery.

See also: the Minister and the Paschal Mystery

In the Gospel reading (Matthew 20:20-28), James and John are shown harboring ambitions for a Kingdom that they still understand in worldly terms. Jesus tells them that they would indeed share in the cup of suffering that He will drink, but that the positions they desire is not His to give.

July 26 The Day’s Readings for the Memorial of Sts. Joachim and Anne

The Tent of Meeting. After the Golden Calf incident, the Lord begins to distance Himself from Israel. He still comes to visit the camp of Israel but only to speak with Moses in a Tent of Dwelling.

Read this article about the distancing of the Lord from Israel.

Explanation of the Parable of the Weeds. Jesus explains the parable of the wheat and the tares in today’s gospel selection. In the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, there will always be a mixture of wheat and tares, saints and sinners. The harvest, the Day of Judgment, will bring out a Kingdom that is holy and purified of all sin. The expression “where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth” describes the state of those who will not take part in the Messianic banquet of the Kingdom. There is “wailing” in contrast to the joy of those who will be participating in the meal; there is “gnashing of teeth” because they will have none to eat.

The expression “wailing and gnashing of teeth” appears outside of Matthew 13 in the following passages

  • Matthew 8:12 in a saying where Jesus warns “the children of the kingdom” that some of them may find themselves excluded from the banquet;
  • Matthew 22:13 in the parable of the wedding banquet where a man not properly dressed and not being able to say anything about it was thrown out of the wedding party;
  • Matthew 24:51 it is the place where the unfaithful servant is thrown out
  • Matthew 25:30 another unfaithful servant is thrown out here; this is the servant who does not invest his Master’s talents but instead hides them beneath a stone.

In other words, the expression is referred to those who could have been part of the joys of the Kingdom but because of a failing in faith are excluded from it.

July 27 The Day’s Readings

The Radiance of Moses’ Face. Moses’ encounter with the Lord of the Covenant left him a mark, the splendor of God begins to radiate from his face. It is a radiance that was so strong that his face had to be covered. Paul writes that it had to be covered because the radiance, though strong at the time, was fading. Read this article from two years ago.

The Treasure Buried in the Field. The Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus says, is like a treasure buried in the field. When someone finds it, one cannot help but sell all that one has to acquire it. The last phrase “sell all that one has” is what Jesus demanded from the rich young man who asks him about perfection. It is also what the first disciples did when they left everything behind to follow Jesus.

In another vein, the “treasure”, writes St. Irenaeus, is Jesus himself. He is given us a gift; he is not “achieved” but “found”. And when one finds Him, one cannot but give up everything to be with Him.

July 28 The Day’s Readings

The Temple in the Desert. The Temple that Solomon built for Yahweh had its precedent in the Dwelling that Moses built for the Lord in the desert. For the Temple that Moses built in the desert, read this article.

Parable of the Net Among the parables in Matthew 13, this one is probably the most appealing to those who have been called to become “fishers of men”. It also tells them how to treat “the catch” while they are still on the way to the shores of the Kingdom. The net of the gospel catches all kinds of fish, and they remain mixed together while still in transit. The fish will be sorted into “useless” and “good” by the men — not the fishermen — on the shore. The parable has affinities with the parable of the wheat and the tares; this one lays stress on the Day of Judgment.

July 29 The Day’s Readings for the Memorial of St. Martha


Festivals of Yahweh. The OT reading gives us the liturgical calendar of the Israelites. They are to celebrate the festivals of Yahweh so that they will always remember the good things He has done for them. Feasts celebrate the Lord’s events by making them present again and therefore allowing future generations to participate in the event.

Read this article about the liturgical calendar of the Israelites.

St. Martha. Today, we celebrate the memorial of St. Martha of Bethany. She is known to us as the sister of Mary, the one who sat at the foot of the Lord, and of Lazarus, the friend whom the Lord called forth from the dead. In Luke’s story of Jesus’ visit to Martha and Mary’s place in Bethany, we are given the impression that Martha is a busy-body who forgets to entertain the Lord. The truth is, Martha — as well as Mary — are symbols of the two dimensions of Christian life: one that is busy with the works of faith, the other, with the act of listening to and contemplating the Lord. Both, Augustine says, give pleasure to the Lord, but the Christian should not forget that in the order of grace, listening to and contemplating the Lord should be the vital source of one’s service in the faith. Read this article about Augustine’s commentary on the visit of the Lord to Martha and Mary.

See also: The Women in Jesus’ Life

July 30 The Day’s Readings

The Jubilee Year. The Compendium of Social Doctrines calls this section of Leviticus a mini social doctrine. The Sabbatical Year and the Jubilee Year were meant to prevent the exploitation of the land and of the poor. These laws were actually meant for the rich and powerful, but alas was never really practised. In Isaiah 61, the prophet proclaims the Jubilee Year for his contemporaries. This announcement will be re-echoed by Jesus for his own contemporaries as the platform of his ministry.


The Beheading of John the Baptist After Jesus’ failure in his own native Nazareth (Matthew 13:51-58), the evangelist tells us about Herod’s impressions of Jesus (Matthew 14:1-2). This particular section is ominous because Herod identifies Jesus with John the Baptist whom he had put to death. The circumstances of the execution of the Baptist is recounted next (14:3-12). Herod executes the Baptist because of a dance performed for him by Herodias’ daughter! Like Pilate who will give in to the pressure of the crowds for the crucifixion of Jesus, Herod put to death the Baptist out of human respect. Pilate loved his position more than the Truth; Herod uttered an oath to a dancing girl out of lust and thought it was more dignified to honor it than what he thought about the Baptist.

Read also: None Greater than John

2 Corinthians 4:7-15
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7But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency may be of the power of God, and not of us.
8In all things we suffer tribulation, but are not distressed; we are straitened, but are not destitute;
9We suffer persecution, but are not forsaken; we are cast down, but we perish not:
10Always bearing about in our body the mortification of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our bodies.
11For we who live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake; that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
12So then death worketh in us, but life in you.
13But having the same spirit of faith, as it is written: I believed, for which cause I have spoken; we also believe, for which cause we speak also:
14Knowing that he who raised up Jesus, will raise us up also with Jesus, and place us with you.
15For all things are for your sakes; that the grace abounding through many, may abound in thanksgiving unto the glory of God.
Matthew 20:20-28
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20Then came to him the mother of the sons of Zebedee with her sons, adoring and asking something of him.
21Who said to her: What wilt thou? She saith to him: Say that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left, in thy kingdom.
22And Jesus answering, said: You know not what you ask. Can you drink the chalice that I shall drink? They say to him: We can.
23He saith to them: My chalice indeed you shall drink; but to sit on my right or left hand, is not mine to give to you, but to them for whom it is prepared by my Father.
24And the ten hearing it, were moved with indignation against the two brethren.
25But Jesus called them to him, and said: You know that the princes of the Gentiles lord it over them; and they that are the greater, exercise power upon them.
26It shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be the greater among you, let him be your minister:
27And he that will be first among you, shall be your servant.
28Even as the Son of man is not come to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a redemption for many.
Matthew 8:12
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12But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into the exterior darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 22:13
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13Then the king said to the waiters: Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the exterior darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 24:51
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51And shall separate him, and appoint his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 25:30
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30And the unprofitable servant cast ye out into the exterior darkness. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 13:51-58
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51Have ye understood all these things? They say to him: Yes.
52He said unto them: Therefore every scribe instructed in the kingdom of heaven, is like to a man that is a householder, who bringeth forth out of his treasure new things and old.
53And it came to pass: when Jesus had finished these parables, he passed from thence.
54And coming into his own country, he taught them in their synagogues, so that they wondered and said: How came this man by this wisdom and miracles?
55Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary, and his brethren James, and Joseph, and Simon, and Jude:
56And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence therefore hath he all these things?
57And they were scandalized in his regard. But Jesus said to them: A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.
58And he wrought not many miracles there, because of their unbelief.
Matthew 14:1-2
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1At the time Herod the Tetrarch heard the fame of Jesus.
2And he said to his servants: This is John the Baptist: he is risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works shew forth themselves in him.

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