Holy Mass, Wednesday, July 21st, 2021
Book of Exodus 16,1-5.9-15.
Here in the desert the whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron.
The Israelites said to them, “Would that we had died at the LORD’S hand in the land of Egypt, as we sat by our fleshpots and ate our fill of bread! But you had to lead us into this desert to make the whole community die of famine!”
Then the LORD said to Moses, “I will now rain down bread from heaven for you. Each day the people are to go out and gather their daily portion; thus will I test them, to see whether they follow my instructions or not.
On the sixth day, however, when they prepare what they bring in, let it be twice as much as they gather on the other days.”
Then Moses said to Aaron, “Tell the whole Israelite community: Present yourselves before the LORD, for he has heard your grumbling.”
When Aaron announced this to the whole Israelite community, they turned toward the desert, and lo, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud!
The LORD spoke to Moses and said,
“I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them: In the evening twilight you shall eat flesh, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread, so that you may know that I, the LORD, am your God.”
In the evening quail came up and covered the camp. In the morning a dew lay all about the camp,
and when the dew evaporated, there on the surface of the desert were fine flakes like hoarfrost on the ground.
On seeing it, the Israelites asked one another, “What is this?” for they did not know what it was. But Moses told them, “This is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat.”
by demanding the food they craved.
Yes, they spoke against God, saying,
“Can God spread a table in the desert?”
He commanded the skies above
and the doors of heaven he opened;
He rained manna upon them for food
and gave them heavenly bread.
Man ate the bread of angels,
food he sent them in abundance.
He stirred up the east wind in the heavens,
and by his power brought on the south wind.
And he rained meat upon them like dust,
and, like the sand of the sea, winged fowl,
Which fell in the midst of their camp
round about their tents.
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 13,1-9.
Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore.
And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up.
Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep,
and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it.
But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”
Just as all the force of the laws and commandments God gave to men comes to fulfilment in purity of heart (as the Fathers say), so all the means and methods with which God is prayed come to fulfilment in pure prayer. Groanings, prostrations, petitions, lamentations: all the forms that prayer can take have their end, in fact, in pure prayer (…) Meditation no longer has anything to detain it: neither prayers, nor movements, nor lamentation, nor power, nor liberty, nor petition, nor desire, nor pleasure in what it hopes for in this life or in that which is to come. After pure prayer there is no other (…) Beyond this limit lies wonder and no longer prayer; prayer ceases and contemplation begins (…). Prayer is the sowing and contemplation the harvest of the grain. The reaper is astonished to see what cannot be expressed: how is it that from the tiny, bare seeds he has sown such abundant sheaves can have suddenly sprung up before his eyes? The sight of his harvest takes his breath away (…) Just as hardly a man in several thousands can be found to fulfil a little less badly the commandments and things of the Law and come to purity of soul, so one in a thousand can be found who is worthy, with much vigilance, of attaining pure prayer, of crossing the threshold and discovering this mystery. For it is not granted to many but to few to know pure prayer.
Holy Mass, Sundy, July 18th, 2021
Book of Jeremiah 23,1-6.
Therefore, thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, against the shepherds who shepherd my people: You have scattered my sheep and driven them away. You have not cared for them, but I will take care to punish your evil deeds.
I myself will gather the remnant of my flock from all the lands to which I have driven them and bring them back to their meadow; there they shall increase and multiply.
I will appoint shepherds for them who will shepherd them so that they need no longer fear and tremble; and none shall be missing, says the LORD.
Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David; As king he shall reign and govern wisely, he shall do what is just and right in the land.
In his days Judah shall be saved, Israel shall dwell in security. This is the name they give him: “The LORD our justice.”
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me in right paths
for His names’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
with your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
Letter to the Ephesians 2,13-18.
For he is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh,
abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims, that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two, thus establishing peace,
and might reconcile both with God, in one body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it.
He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near,
for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 6,30-34.
He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat.
So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.
People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them.
When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.
“His heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd”
To save is an act of kindness. “The Lord’s mercy reaches all flesh, reproving, admonishing, teaching, as a shepherd guides his flock; merciful to those who accept his guidance,” who hasten to bind themselves to him (Sir 18:11-13) (…) Those in good health have no need of a physician so long as they are well; the sick, on the other hand, turn to his art. Similarly, in this life we are sick by means of our unacceptable desires, our intemperance (…) and other passions. We need a Savior (…) We who are sick have need of a Savior; straying, we need someone to guide us; blind, of someone who will give us light; thirsty, of the spring of living water where “whoever drinks will never thirst again” (Jn 4:4). Dead, we are in need of life; a flock, of a shepherd; children, of a teacher: and truly, everyone is in need of Jesus (…)
Holy Mass, Sunday, July 10th, 2021
Book of Amos 7,12-15.
but never again prophesy in Bethel; for it is the king’s sanctuary and a royal temple.”
Amos answered Amaziah, “I was no prophet, nor have I belonged to a company of prophets; I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores.
The LORD took me from following the flock, and said to me, Go, prophesy to my people Israel.”
the LORD –for he proclaims peace to his people.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
glory dwelling in our land.
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.
The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and salvation, along the way of his steps.
Letter to the Ephesians 1,3-14.
as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love
he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will,
for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved.
In him we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace
that he lavished upon us. In all wisdom and insight,
he has made known to us the mystery of his will in accord with his favor that he set forth in him
as a plan for the fullness of times, to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth.
In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the one who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will,
so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ.
In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised holy Spirit,
which is the first installment of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s possession, to the praise of his glory.
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 6,7-13.
He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick–no food, no sack, no money in their belts.
They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic.
He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there.
Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.”
So they went off and preached repentance.
They drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.
“He began to send them out two by two”
Dearly beloved brethren, our Lord and Savior teaches us sometimes by his words and sometimes by his actions. His actions themselves are commandments, for when he does something without saying anything, he shows us how we must act. So here he is sending his disciples out two by two to preach, because there are two commandments of love: love of God and of the neighbor. The Lord sent his disciples to preach two by two to suggest to us without saying it that the person who does not have love for the other must absolutely not take on the ministry of preaching. It is very good that he “sent them in pairs before him to every town and place he intended to visit.” (Lk 10:1) For the Lord comes after his preachers, because preaching is a prerequisite: the Lord comes to dwell in our soul when the words of exhoration have come as a forerunner and have caused us to welcome the truth in our soul. That is why Isaiah said to the preachers: “Prepare the way of the Lord! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!” (Isa 40:3) And the psalmist also told them: “Prepare the way for him who rises up to the west.” (Ps 67:5 Vulgate) The Lord rises up to the west [the lying down of the sun] because in lying down in his passion, he showed himself in greater glory in his resurrection. He rose up to the lying down, because in rising, he trampled underfoot the death that he suffered. Thus, we prepare the way for him who rises up to the lying down when we preach his glory to your souls, so that when he comes after, he might enlighten them by the presence of his love.
Isaac the Syrian (7th century)
monk near Mosul