Readings for August 15-20, 2011
Except for the celebration of the solemnity of the Assumption which falls this year on Monday, we have a more or less continuous reading of the lectionary of Ordinary Time. During the week, we will be reading the books of Judges and of Ruth. From the book of Judges we will be reading the story of Gideon and his sons and Jephta and his daughter. From the Gospels, we will be reading from Jesus’ teaching on detachment from earthly goods (Tuesday) and the greatest commandment (Friday), the parables of the landowner and his "just" wage (Wednesday), the wedding banquet and the wedding garment (Thursday), and the denunciation of the example of the Pharisees (Saturday).
August 15, Monday
This year, August 15 falls on the Monday of the 20th Week (OT — A). It is the feast of the Assumption of Mary. The readings for this day don’t vary from year to year. Read this article for the Feast day’s readings.
August 16, Tuesday
Judges 6:11-24 narrates the call of Gideon, one of the major judges of Israel as recorded in the book Judges. A judge as presented in the Book of Judges is a hero raised by God to deliver Israel from its enemies. Gideon’s story is covered in Judges 6:1-8:35; his task was to deliver Israel from Midian.
The responsorial psalm taken from Psalm 85 takes up the name that Gideon gives to the altar he erects, Yahweh-shalom. The Lord proclaims peace to his people. This theme is taken up in Ephesians 2:13-17 where Paul declares that Christ, being Our Peace, has broken down the dividing walls to bring together those who were formerly far away from each other.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. (Ephesians 2:13-17)
The Gospel reading continues the story of the rich young man. The selection we read is the lesson in detachment from goods that Jesus inculcates to his disciples using the rich young man as an example.
August 17, Wednesday
Judges 9:6-15 narrates the story of how Abimelech begins to reign. It is placed under the statement that the Israelites began to prostitute themselves again to the Baals and the Israelites no longer remembered Yahweh (33.34). Abimelech is one of the sons of Gideon, now called Jerubaal — the one who contends with Baal. Gideon had before this been offered by Israel to reign over them, but he refused, saying that it is God who should rule. Abimelech disregards his father’s decision, convinces the people of Shechem to support him and when he receives their approval, goes and slaughters the seventy sons of Gideon. Of Gideon’s sons, the youngest alone escaped; he is called Jotham. It is his parable that we read in verses 7-15, a parable that denounces the people of Shechem and Beth-millo for making Abimelech their king.
The Gospel selection is about the landowner who goes out at different times of the day to employ workers in his vineyard. We have an article at the Mystical Geek showing how Gregory the Great explained this parable. See The Hours of the Divine Call.
August 18, Thursday
Judges 11:29-39 is about Jephta and his daughter. It can be taken as a story of how a certain custom arose in Israel that of the daughters of Israel leaving their homes to mourn the death of the daughter of Jephta, the Gileadite. Or it can also be taken as a story about not making vows too lightly. Jephta began to regret his vow of sacrificing the first person to meet him on his way home when he saw his only daughter coming to meet him. But his daughter was the one who reminded him of the seriousness of vows and told him not to renege on his oath.
The Gospel selection from Matthew 22:1-14 is about a parable within a parable. The greater parable is about a wedding feast; the other parable is about the man without the wedding garment. Read about the Wedding Garment, here.
August 19, Friday
Today we begin to read from the Book of Ruth. It tells the story of one of the ancestors of King David, the Moabite Ruth, whose hesed to her mother-in-law Naomi earned for her a place in the history of israel. Before this, there was another non-Israelite who became a member of the tribe of Judah, Caleb, one of the twelve spies. Like Caleb, Ruth will show his fidelity to the God of Naomi by submitting to the levirate law.
Matthew 22:34-40 is the question about the greatest commandment. Jesus answers the question of the Pharisees by quoting the Shema. But then he adds: The second is just like it, love your neighbor as yourself. How is this second commandment like the first one? John gives us the answer:
If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 1 John 4:20
August 20, Saturday
Our reading of the story of Ruth ends today. The selections for the reading highlight Boaz and his role within the greater story of Ruth’s hesed. Because of his hesed for Ruth, Boaz acquires the right of redemption and saves Naomi from shame by giving her a son through Ruth. That son’s name is Obed, who will become the father of Jesse, David’s father.
Matthew 23:1-12 is Jesus’ admonition to his disciples not to follow the example of the Pharisees. They are not to desire the titles normally given to the Pharisees, Rabbi, Abba (Father), and Teacher.
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