Monday, Jun. 15th 2020

Monday of the Eleventh Week of Ordinary Time

Today's Mass Readings


Foreword: During Ordinary Time, the entrance and communion antiphons of the Sunday liturgy are repeated throughout the week. In this way, the themes developed at the Sunday mass are enriched and expanded as they interact with the different readings found on each day of the following week in much the same way that a kaleidoscope presents a constantly changing view of colors, forms, and designs.

Our first reading today from the First Book of Kings recounts the story of the vineyard of Naboth and how the wife of Ahab devises a wicked plot to obtain ownership of the prized land for her husband. It is a story of greed gone insane! Ahab must have this vineyard, and his wife Jezebel shuns all moral boundaries in order to obtain it by plotting the death of Naboth.

We can imagine the entrance antiphon of today’s mass resounding on the lips of Naboth as he is falsely accused and dragged out of the city to be stoned to death: O Lord, hear my voice, for I have called to you; be my help. Do not abandon or forsake me, O God, my Savior! (Ps 26:7, 9). (Naboth’s death is a foreshadowing of Christ who was also falsely accused and dragged out of the city to be crucified). And those words echo in the cries of all those in our world today who suffer injustice at the hands of men or women who are intent upon satisfying their craving for self-gratification, power and wealth. These pleas for justice are further intensified in the responsorial refrain from Psalm 5: Lord, listen to my groaning. The psalmist recalls God’s justice: For you, O God, delight not in wickedness…the bloodthirsty and the deceitful the Lord abhors. (Ps 5:5,7b)

The Gospel from the fifth chapter of St. Matthew expounds on the attitude that the Christian is to have when faced by one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well. (Mt 5:39-40). Our instinctive reaction is to lash back with an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But Jesus presses us further: Give to the one who asks of you; and do not turn your back on the one who wants to borrow (Mt 5:42).

Today’s communion antiphon shows us the beautiful attitude of detachment to which Jesus invites us [and, incidentally, from the same Psalm as the entrance antiphon]: There is one thing I ask of the Lord, only this do I seek: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life (Ps 26:4). The antidote to greedy self-satisfaction is shifting our focus from the passing glimmer of the things of this world to the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus (Phil 3:14).

Thought for today: What are the “needs” in my life that sometimes cause me to lose my focus on the real goal in life, perhaps even at the expense of uncharitable actions toward others?

Reflection by Br. Michael Marcotte, OSB

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