Daily Readings for Mass.
(Liturgical Calendar for Ireland, 2019)

01 August. Thursday, Week 17

1st Reading: Exodus 40:16-21, 34-38

The tabernacle and its contents are consecrated and God's glory settles there

Moses did everything just as the Lord had commanded him. In the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, the tabernacle was set up. Moses set up the tabernacle; he laid its bases, and set up its frames, and put in its poles, and raised up its pillars; and he spread the tent over the tabernacle, and put the covering of the tent over it; as the Lord had commanded Moses. He took the covenant and put it into the ark, and put the poles on the ark, and set the mercy seat above the ark; and he brought the ark into the tabernacle, and set up the curtain for screening, and screened the ark of the covenant; as the Lord had commanded Moses.

Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Whenever the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, the Israelites would set out on each stage of their journey; but if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out until the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, before the eyes of all the house of Israel at each stage of their journey.

Psalm 83:3-6, 8, 11

Response: How lovely is your dwelling-place, Lord, mighty God!

My soul is longing and yearning,
  is yearning for the courts of the Lord.
My heart and my soul ring out their joy
  to God, the living God. (R./)

The sparrow herself finds a home
  and the swallow a nest for her brood;
she lays her young by your altars,
  Lord of hosts, my king and my God. (R./)

They are happy, who dwell in your house,
  for ever singing your praise.
They are happy, whose strength is in you,
  they walk with ever growing strength. (R./)

One day within your courts
  is better than a thousand elsewhere.
The threshold of the house of God
  I prefer to the dwellings of the wicked. (R./)

Gospel: Matthew 13:47-53

The reign of God is like a net that hauls in all kinds of fish; and like a storeroom full of objects old and new.

And Jesus said to his disciples,
  "The kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

"Have you understood all this?" They answered, "Yes." And he said to them, "Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old."

When Jesus had finished these parables, he left that place.


Things New and Old

Today we have the end of Exodus, as important in the Old Testament as are the gospels in the New. We also conclude another major section in Matthew's gospel, on the mystery of the kingdom of God. Both readings speak of people being drawn under God's gracious influence.

Biblical religion always had a forward vision looking to the messianic age. Along the way some major changes were required at times by cultural or national crises, like the Philistine threat which was overcome by uniting the people into a kingdom under David and Solomon. All changes and transitions can be difficult. But in Jesus' vision there is always hope for renewal, for the head of the household can bring from his treasures things new and old.

At transitional moments in our personal life as in church, we need the courage to endure through the change, in hope, and the vision to recognize the will of God drawing us into a future more precious even than the past.

Our own Tent of Meeting

Moses dared not enter the Tent of Meeting because of the glory of the Lord that filled the tabernacle inside the tent. In John's gospel in particular, the glory of the Lord fills the person of Jesus. Yet, whereas Moses could not approach the Tent of Meeting, Jesus invited all people to approach him. The fundamental calling of Jesus in John's gospel is "Come and see." Jesus speaks of the disciple of the kingdom of heaven as like a householder who brings out from his storeroom things both new and old.

Moses is probably the major character in the Old Testament. Jesus is the core of the New Testament or New Covenant. We value the Old Testament highly It is the context within which we read the Gospels. But we value our New Testament even more, and see it as the key to interpreting the Old Testament. As Christians we have a rich storeroom, containing things both new and old. But we treasure above all the "new wine" that Jesus brought. He came to make all things new, and as risen Lord he continues to work in our lives renewing us in mind, heart and spirit so that we become more fully like himself..


Saint Alphonsus Ligouri, bishop and doctor of the Church

Alphonsus (1696-1787) from Marianella near Naples studied law and practiced as a lawyer until 1723, when he began studying for the priesthood.
After ordination at the age of 30 he lived his first years as a priest working with the homeless youth of Naples. His sermons were very effective at converting people who were alienated from their faith. In 1732 he founded the Redemptorists, a congregation to preach principally in the slums of cities and other poor places. Despite his resistence, was made bishop of Palermo at the age of 66. He wrote many works on moral theology and was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1871.