Biblical Readings for each day's Mass,
(for the Liturgical Year 2021)

Tuesday, July 13, 2021
Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

1st Reading: Exodus 2:1-15

Moses flees from the Egyptian court to the desert after killing an Egyptian

A man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him three months. When she could hide him no longer she got a papyrus basket for him, and plastered it with bitumen and pitch; she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river. His sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him.

The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it. When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him, "This must be one of the Hebrews' children," she said. Then his sister said to Pharaoh's daughter, "Shall I go and get you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?" Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Yes." So the girl went and called the child's mother. Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages." So the woman took the child and nursed it. When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and she took him as her son. She named him Moses, "because," she said, "I drew him out of the water."

One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and saw their forced labour. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his kinsfolk. He looked this way and that, and seeing no one he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. When he went out the next day, he saw two Hebrews fighting; and he said to the one who was in the wrong, "Why do you strike your fellow Hebrew?" He answered, "Who made you a ruler and judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?" Then Moses was afraid and thought, "Surely the thing is known." When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses, but Moses fled from him and made for the land of Midian.

Responsorial: Psalm 68:3, 14, 30-31, 33-34

R./: Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live

I have sunk into the mud of the deep
  and there is no foothold.
I have entered the waters of the deep
  and the waves overwhelm me. (R./)

This is my prayer to you,
  my prayer for your favour.
In your great love, answer me, O God,
  with your help that never fails. (R./)

As for me in my poverty and pain
  let your help, O God, lift me up.
I will praise God's name with a song;
  I will glorify him with thanksgiving. (R./)

The poor when they see it will be glad
  and God-seeking hearts will revive;
for the Lord listens to the needy
  and does not spurn his servants in their chains. (R./)

Gospel: Matthew 11:20-24

Even Sodom was better than Galilean cities which refused faith in Jesus

Jesus began to reproach the cities in which most of his deeds of power had been done, because they did not repent.

"Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, on the day of judgment it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be brought down to Hades. For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that on the day of judgment it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom than for you."

The function of miracles

"If the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon…" The threats and warnings to Chorazin and Capernaum can make us question the reality and function of miracles. The people in those twin lakeside towns in northwest Galilee witnessed many marvellous signs and healings by Jesus but were unmoved by his message. With prophetic anger he reproached their hardness of heart. His miracles were meant to lead to conversion, to a change of outlook and of lifestyle, a turning away from selfishness and showing new concern for the poor and the needy. His healings showed his love for suffering humanity. They were not intended to draw him into the limelight but to show God’s desire for us all to form a wholesome, healthy family.

Many centuries before, Moses stood before the king (Pharaoh) with words of warning, bringing down ten plagues on Egypt (Exod chaps. 7-12). It is notable that neither does Moses use this miraculous power for his own glory but had to flee for his life into the desert of Sinai. At his birth, Moses’ mother and sister had to resort to all kinds of ingenuity to save the infant’s life, for God did not miraculously intervene.

Although reared in the luxury of Pharao’s palace, as a young man Moses showed a keen sense of justice. Sensitive to any oppression or mistreatment of others, he could not stand idly by when he saw an Egyptian striking a Hebrew. Nor could he tolerate the sight of one slave being beaten by another, but asked the culprit, ‘Why are you striking your brother?’ A passion for justice already burned in the young Moses, preparing him for his role as liberator in later years.