✍️Friday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 393 Reading 1 Is 38:1-6, 21-22, 7-8 When Hezekiah was mortally ill,the prophet Isaiah, son of Amoz, came and said to him:“Thus says the LORD: Put your house in order,for you are about to die; you shall not recover.”
✍️Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD:“O LORD, remember how faithfully and wholeheartedly I conducted myself in your presence,doing what was pleasing to you!”And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
✍️Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah: “Go, tell Hezekiah:Thus says the LORD, the God of your father David:I have heard your prayer and seen your tears.
✍️I will heal you: in three days you shall go up to the LORD’s temple;I will add fifteen years to your life.I will rescue you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria;I will be a shield to this city.”
✍️Isaiah then ordered a poultice of figs to be taken and applied to the boil, that he might recover.Then Hezekiah asked,“What is the sign that I shall go up to the temple of the LORD?”Isaiah answered:
✍️“This will be the sign for you from the LORD that he will do what he has promised:See, I will make the shadow cast by the sun on the stairway to the terrace of Ahaz go back the ten steps it has advanced.”So the sun came back the ten steps it had advanced.
Responsorial Psalm Isaiah 38:10, 11, 12abcd, 16
R. (see 17b) You saved my life, O Lord; I shall not die.Once I said,“In the noontime of life I must depart!To the gates of the nether world I shall be consigned for the rest of my years.”
R. You saved my life, O Lord; I shall not die.I said, “I shall see the LORD no more in the land of the living.No longer shall I behold my fellow menamong those who dwell in the world.”
R. You saved my life, O Lord; I shall not die.My dwelling, like a shepherd’s tent,is struck down and borne away from me;You have folded up my life, like a weaver who severs the last thread.
R. You saved my life, O Lord; I shall not die.Those live whom the LORD protects;yours is the life of my spirit.You have given me health and life.
R. You saved my life, O Lord; I shall not die.
Alleluia Jn 10:27
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord;I know them, and they follow me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 12:1-8
✍️Jesus was going through a field of grain on the sabbath.His disciples were hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat them.When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him,“See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the sabbath.”He said to the them, “Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry,how he went into the house of God and ate the bread of offering,which neither he nor his companions but only the priests could lawfully eat?Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbaththe priests serving in the temple violate the sabbath and are innocent?
✍️I say to you, something greater than the temple is here.If you knew what this meant, I desire mercy, not sacrifice,you would not have condemned these innocent men.For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath.”
✍️Hezekiah, the King of Judah, the thirteenth king to succeed King David, had a multitude of troubles. He was planning fortifications, fending off the Assyrians, and to the dismay of everyone who depended upon him, he suddenly became desperately ill. It fell to the prophet Isaiah to tell the king that God said: “Put your house in order, for you are about to die; you shall not recover.” No one wants to hear this; Hezekiah wept and prayed as if he needed to remind God that he had always been a good and faithful man. In so many words, he prayed, “why me, Lord?” God heard his prayer, and again, Isaiah acted as intermediary to tell the King good news, “You will be cured of your illness, and will live another fifteen years.”
✍️Rather than immediate faith in God’s words, Hezekiah wanted a sign that he would recover. Isaiah told him that God would cause the shadow on the stairs leading to the terrace of Ahaz (part of the temple) to retreat ten steps. This was likely akin to the shadow on a sundial reversing its position.
✍️Many (all) of us are now enduring the effects of the pandemic. Some of us may become ill, have been ill, may even die from the viral infection. If we feel that God is telling us, “put your house in order, you will not recover,” we may pray, as Hezekiah did, to remind God of our goodness and faithfulness. We rather need to dwell in our prayers on the fact that we have a merciful and understanding God. He heard Hezekiah’s tearful plea, and even heeded his need for a sign. Most of us will not require an elaborate or miraculous sign that God hears our prayers. Since the time of King Hezekiah, we have learned from Jesus’ toleration of suffering, humility, and obedience that surely help us to pray. Jesus tells us that the Our Father is the way to pray to the Father. The Hail Mary is a comforting prayer anytime, but may be especially so, if we find ourselves “at the hour of our death.” Even Jesus had the solace of his mother as he hung suffering on the cross.
✍️The response psalm today certainly conveys a preferable alternative prayer; “you saved my life, Lord, I shall not die.” Accept God’s mercy. Praise God. Even when we feel that we may be in danger of death “in the noon time of our life,” we should remember, and be thankful, that “those live who the Lord protects; yours is the life of the Spirit. You have given me health and life.”
✍️The gospel today reminds us that love, concern, and mercy for each other, are more pleasing to God than sacrifices. Jesus and his followers were criticized by the Pharisees for picking grain on the Sabbath when they became hungry. Jesus used this opportunity to point out that King David and his companions were hungry and had eaten sacrificial food at the Temple. His point was to show that love, compassion, and care for one another, the spirit of the law, were more important than the letter of the law. More important, perhaps, was the statement to the Pharisees that “the Son of Man (the Messiah, Jesus Christ) is King of the Sabbath.”
Mother Mary statue
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