Biblical Readings for each day's Mass,
(as listed in the Liturgical Calendar for Ireland, 2018)

14 August. Tuesday, Week 19

Saint Maximilian Kolbe, priest and martyr Memorial

1st Reading: Ezekiel 2:8-3:4

The prophet eats the scroll, then goes to speak the word of God

The Lord said to me, "But you, mortal, hear what I say to you; do not be rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you." I looked, and a hand was stretched out to me, and a written scroll was in it. He spread it before me; it had writing on the front and on the back, and written on it were words of lamentation and mourning and woe. He said to me, "O mortal, eat what is offered to you; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel." So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat. He said to me, "Mortal, eat this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it. Then I ate it; and in my mouth it was as sweet as honey." He said to me: "Mortal, go to the house of Israel and speak my very words to them."

Responsorial Psalm (from Ps 119)

Response: How sweet to my taste is your promise

I rejoice in the way of your decrees o Lord,
   as much as in all riches.
Yes, your decrees are my delight;
   forever they give me counsel. (R./)

The law of your mouth is to me more precious
   than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
How sweet to my palate are your promises,
   sweeter than honey to my mouth! (R./)

Your decrees are my inheritance forever;
   they are the joy of my heart.
I open mouth and I sigh,
   in my yearning for your commands. (R./)

Gospel: Matthew 18:1-5, 10, 12-14

The greatest in the kingdom of heaven

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
"Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven.

What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost."


Who is the greatest?

Sometimes the kinds of questions people ask reveal their values, their priorities, what they think is most important. The question that the disciples put to Jesus in today's gospel, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" suggests a certain interest on their part in status and standing. In response to their question, Jesus both did something and said something. He first of all called a child over and placed the child in front of them; he then informed them that they needed to become like that child just to enter the kingdom of heaven, never mind become the greatest in the kingdom. Jesus was calling on his disciples to become child-like not childish, child-like in the sense of a child-like trust in a loving Father, which awaits everything from God and grabs at nothing, including status and standing. Greatness comes to those who make themselves as dependent on God as children are dependent on adults for their existence and well-being. Jesus' response to the question of his disciples is a kind of a commentary on the first beatitude which he had spoken earlier in Matthew's gospel, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Saint Maximilian Kolbe, priest and martyr

Maximilian Maria Kolbe (1894-1941) was a Polish Conventual Franciscan friar, who volunteered to die in place of a family man in the death camp of Auschwitz near Krakow, in World War II. He is the patron saint of drug addicts, political prisoners, families, journalists, prisoners, and the pro-life movement.