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

12 June, 2020
Friday, Week 10

1st Reading: 1 Kings 19:9-16

Elijah's encounter with God, at the cave on Mount Horeb

Elijah came to a cave, and spent the night there. Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" He answered, "I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away."

He said, "Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by." Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.

Then there came a voice to him that said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" He answered, "I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away." Then the Lord said to him, "Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus; when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael as king over Aram. Also you shall anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king over Israel; and you shall anoint Elisha son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah as prophet in your place.

Responsorial: Psalm 27

Response: It is your face, O Lord, that I seek

Hear, O Lord, the sound of my call;
 have pity on me, and answer me.
 Of you my heart speaks; you my glance seeks. (R./)

Your presence, O Lord, I seek.
Hide not your face from me;
 do not in anger repel your servant.
You are my helper: cast me not off. (R./)

I believe that I shall see the bounty of the Lord
 in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord with courage;
 be stouthearted, and wait for the Lord. (R./)

Gospel: Matthew 5:27-32

Jesus' words about chastity, scandal and divorce

Jesus said to his disciples,
"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell.

"It was also said, 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.' But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery."

BIBLE

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

Focus on what truly matters

Today's Psalm arises from a heart that sincerely seeks what is essential to us. "It is your face, O Lord, that I seek." We can identify with that psalm, because we are all to some extent seeking God. What we ultimately thirst for for is none other than God, the origin of our being and the fulfilment of our lives. As St Augustine famously put it, "You have made us for yourself, o Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you."

It is the seeking heart that makes us pilgrims, on a journey towards the fully disclosed presence of our God. Elijah was clearly such a seeker as he set off across the desert toward the mountain of God, Mount Sinai (or Horeb). In a cave in that mountainside he met the divine presence, but not in the dramatice ways he might have expected, in fire or storm or earthquake. God's presence was revealed quietly -- in the sound of a gentle breeze. Another version translates it as a "sound of sheer silence."

Even if silence is not easy to come by in our noisy times, it is where the Lord can be most clearly heard. Indeed we need to seek it in order to find it. Seeking periods of silence is part of prayer, for it is where we become most attuned to the Lord's passing by.

The Gospel teaching about chastity sets very high standards, in stark contrast to today's cult of irresponsible pleasure. Apart from calling couples to stay faithful to each other, there is a warning against unchaste thoughts and desires. It's a stern reproof to the pornography that seems to be rampant today.

Three factors seem to favour the spread of online pornography: 1. Anonymity (real or imagined); 2. availability at all times; and 3. affordability (often free or inexpensive). Various factors may lead viewers to avail of pornography, such as overwork, loneliness or an immaturity of spirit. People with other addictive behaviours are at risk of adopting pornography as a form of self-medication.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church calls chastity an apprenticeship in self-mastery which is a training in human freedom . - We guard our dignity when, getting rid of slavery to the passions, we press on with freely choosing what is good. (par. 2339). Later it says: "The baptized must continue to struggle against concupiscence of the flesh and disordered desires." (par. 2520)


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