Biblical Readings for each day's Mass,
(for the Liturgical Year 2020)

07 September, 2020
Monday, Week 23

1st Reading: 1 Corinthians 5:1-8

Applying church discipline to a scandalous case (incest)

It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and of a kind that is not found even among pagans; for a man is living with his father's wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. For though absent in body I am present in spirit, and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment in the name of the Lord Jesus on the man who has done such a thing. When you are assembled, and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us, therefore, celebrate the festival, no with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Responsorial Psalm 5

Response: Lead me, Lord, in your justice

You are no God who loves evil,
 no sinner is your guest.
The arrogant may not stand in your sight.
 You hate all evildoers. (R./)

You destroy all who speak falsehood;
The bloodthirsty and the deceitful
 the Lord abhors. (R./)

But let all who take refuge in you
 be glad and Rejoice forever.
Protect them, that you may be the joy
 of those who love your name. (R./)

Gospel: Luke 6:6-11

On a Sabbath day, Jesus heals the man with a withered hand

One sabbath day Jesus entered the synagogue and taught, and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and Pharisees watched him to see whether he would cure on the sabbath, to find an accusation against him. Even though he knew what they were thinking, he said to the man who had the withered hand, "Come and stand here." He got up and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, "I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to destroy it?" After looking around at all of them, he said to him, "Stretch out your hand." He did so, and his hand was restored. But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.

BIBLE

May your words, O Lord, be in my thoughts, on my lips, and in my heart. May they be my guide on life's journey and keep me near to you.

Monitoring moral high standards

Paul would not cover up a public scandal in the church, no matter who the person may be. He judges it "lewd conduct" for a man to be cohabiting with his stepmother. Even if the man's father was deceased, this type of marriage was scandalous in Jewish law (Lev 20:11).

Paul challenges his community to "Get rid of the old yeast," on the basis that if left unchecked, just a little of it would infect the whole batch (his bread-image for the church). He sets very high moral standards for the continues membership of the community. Although union with Christ by faith is open to all, regardless of race or nationality, membership of the church requires fidelity and self-control. To be one body in Christ (1 Cor 12:12,27) the values of Jesus must characterise the members.

On the other hand, if standards are set too high and the behaviour of church members, especially of those in ordained ministry, were subjected to public sanctions, it could lead to hpocrisy and the covering up of grave faults to avoid scandal. Keeping a right and fair balance between mercy and justice remains a vital challenge to any society, and especially to the church of Jesus Christ.


Just Do It

He sensed a trap was being set by his enemies, to place him in a negative light. In order to make Jesus look like a law-breaker, a man with a paralysed hand was brought forward, hoping that compassion for the man's handicap would cause the volatile preacher from Nazareth to break the Sabbath. Their legalist view of Sabbath observance taught that no work, not even one of healing, should be done on that holy day. Their tendency was to regard God mainly as the supreme law-giver, and that all rules are meant to be kept, regardless of circumstances. But the heart of Jesus could not be bound by such a rigid attitude.

Many facile reasons can be advanced for not doing the right thing: it's the wrong day of the week to come looking for help; fear to side with the unemployed or disabled; unable to correct a powerful, influential person, for obvious wrongdoing. And people even see reasons why God should not act generously. But following Jesus' example we should "Just Do It."


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