Sunday readings and reflections

Dream of Soloman by Luca Giordano (Madrid, circa 1693)

Sunday, July 26 
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 

Roman Ordinary calendar

Sts. Joachim & Anne

1st book of Kings 3,5.7-12.

The LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream at night. God said, “Ask something of me and I will give it to you.” 
O LORD, my God, you have made me, your servant, king to succeed my father David; but I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act. 
I serve you in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a people so vast that it cannot be numbered or counted. 
Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong. For who is able to govern this vast people of yours?” 
The LORD was pleased that Solomon made this request. 
So God said to him: “Because you have asked for this–not for a long life for yourself, nor for riches, nor for the life of your enemies, but for understanding so that you may know what is right– 
I do as you requested. I give you a heart so wise and understanding that there has never been anyone like you up to now, and after you there will come no one to equal you. 

Psalms 119(118),57.72.76-77.127-128.129-130.

I have said to the LORD, that my part; 
is to keep your words. 
The law of your mouth is to me more precious 
than thousands of gold and silver pieces. 

Let your kindness comfort me 
in accord with your promise to your servant. 
Let your compassion come to me that I may live, 
for your law is my delight. 

For I love your commands 
more than the finest gold. 
For in all your precepts I go forward; 
every false way I hate. 

Wonderful are your decrees; 
therefore I observe them. 
The revelation of your words sheds light, 
giving understanding to the simple. 

Letter to the Romans 8,28-30.

Brothers and sisters: We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. 
For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 
And those he predestined he also called; and those he called he also justified; and those he justified he also glorified. 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 13,44-52.

Jesus said to his disciples: “The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. 
When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it”. 
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind. 
When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets. What is bad they throw away. 
Thus it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous 
and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. 
Do you understand all these things? They answered, “Yes.” 
And he replied, “Then every scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old.” 

Reflection:

Saint Basil (c.330-379) 
monk and Bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, Doctor of the Church 
Greater monastic Rules, § 8

“He goes and sells all that he has”

Our Lord Jesus Christ frequently and insistently repeated : “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me” (Mt 16:24) (…) And elsewhere: “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor,” after which he adds: “then come, follow me” (Mt 19:21).

For someone who understands it, the parable of the merchant is saying the same thing : “The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” Undoubtedly, the precious pearls here refer to the Kingdom of heaven and our Lord shows us that it is impossible to gain it unless we give up all we possess: wealth, esteem, high birth, and those things that other people greedily seek after.

Our Lord has also declared that it is impossible to be properly busied about one’s tasks when the mind is distracted by all sorts of things: “No one can serve two masters,” he said (Mt 6:24). That is why the “treasure in heaven” is the only one we should choose to fix our heart on: “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” (Mt 6:21) (…) To sum up, it is a matter of our raising our hearts to the life of heaven in such a way that we would be able to say: “Our citizenship is in heaven” (Phil 3:20). Above all, it is to begin to be like Christ, who: “though he was rich, made himself poor for our sake” (2 Cor 8:9).

THE PARABLE OF THE WISE STEWARD BY NICOLAUS KNÜPFER (1609-1655, GERMANY)

Traditional Latin Mass readings for the eighth Sunday after Pentecost:

EPISTLE Romans 8: 12-17

Brethren, We are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh; for if you live according to the flesh, you shall die but if by the Spirit you mortify the deeds of the flesh, you shall live. For whoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For you have not received the spirit of bondage again in fear, but you have received the spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry, Abba (Father). For the Spirit Himself gives testimony to our spirit, that we are the sons of God and if sons, heirs also, heirs indeed of God, and joint heirs with Christ.

GRADUAL Psalms 30: 3

Be Thou unto me a God, a protector, and a place of refuge, to save me. (Ps. 70: 1) In Thee, O God, have I hoped: Lord, let me never be confounded. Alleluia, alleluia. (Ps. 47: 2) Great is the Lord, and exceedingly to be praised, in the city of our God, in His holy mountain. Alleluia.

GOSPEL Luke 16: 1-9

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples this parable: There was a certain man, who had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods; and he called him, and said to him: How is it that I hear this of thee? Give an account of thy stewardship, for now thou canst be steward no longer, And the steward said within himself: What shall I do, because my lord takes away from me the stewardship? To dig I am not able; to beg I am ashamed. I know what I will do, that when I shall be put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses, Therefore calling together every one of his lord’s debtors, he said to the first: How much dost thou owe my lord? But he said: A hundred barrels of oil. And he said to him: Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty. Then he said to another: And how much dost thou owe my lord? Who said: A hundred quarters of wheat. He said to him: Take thy bill, and write eighty. And the lord commended the unjust steward, as much as he had done wisely: for the children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light. And I say to you: Make unto you friends of the mammon of iniquity, that when you shall fail, they may receive you into everlasting dwellings.

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