20th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Sunday, August 18, 2019

Father Fred Scinto's picture

Father Fred Scinto

August 14, 2019

Welcome to another Faith-filled encouraging and powerful Eucharistic celebration.  Let us open our ears, heart and mind to what God proclaims this Sunday – another grace of graces to and for us!

Today’s Collect (Opening Prayer) sets up a good orientation for us.  It proclaims God as the perfect Lover: note that some form of the word “love” appears three times here.  It sets the tone for the whole liturgical celebration.  The Collect, then, exhorts us strongly to love God (and others and our self) as well as we can. So, give it all you have got and be the best person you can be here! Approach the comments below and today’s Mass texts with this view as your context. Thank you.

The First Reading uses 6 verses from Jeremiah 38.  Here is the context.  Shephatiah, Gedaliah, Jucal and Pashhur are four Jewish young men who heard Jeremiah say something discouraging when the Chaldeans (a Middle East ancient people) were trying to take over the city of Jerusalem.  Apparently the Chaldeans were part of the Babylonian army that was trying to take over Jerusalem. 

Jeremiah was setting out from Jerusalem; at the Benjamin Gate, he was ready to leave the city and was arrested because some leaders felt he was going to the Chaldeans who at this time were enemies of the Jews.  They put Jeremiah in jail.  Jeremiah did say the Chaldeans wanted to take over Jerusalem and hurt its people; this divided the people of Jerusalem.  Those who arrested him wanted him killed and the King agreed to this.

The guards let Jeremiah down by ropes into a well with no water but lots of mud.  Ebed-melech, a eunuch from Ethiopia in the King’s household heard what had happened to Jeremiah.  He appeals to the King who told them to get Jeremiah out of the well.  They do so.

What do we learn here? First, God takes good care of His/Her own (here Jeremiah). Secondly, this is an example of the adage, “When we preserve justice, we preserve the Truth.”

The Responsorial Psalm prays “Lord, make haste to help me.” This is from Psalm 40 and really fits in with what was said above about the First Reading.  A person in a great difficulty and really in need and so prays to God Who provides deliverance for him/her.

The Second Reading tells us very clearly that we are saved by Christ Who really suffered terribly to do so.  This reading tells us that He also rose from death (and this is part of how we are saved). So, do “not grow weary or lose  heart.” The scriptural Gospel Acclamation complements the Responsorial Psalm.

The Gospel shows Jesus proclaiming the Gospel – some people accept It and others do not!  So a division is set up according to a good response or a lack of response. So we can see that Jesus is the cause of division.  And everyone of us has to make a choice (for Christ or against Christ) – we cannot avoid this! SO CHOOSE THE LORD (FULLY AND TOTALLY)! Furthermore, “when we face a hostile reaction for following Jesus, we are challenged to go deeper into the heart of Jesus” (Denis Grady, O.F.S., commentary for this Sunday in Living With Christ). Please do so if this happens to you. 

Finally, note the relevance of the Prayer Over the Offerings: catch the glorious exchange, “by offering what You have given, we may merit to receive Your very Self.” This also fits well with what we saw earlier in this commentary.  God bless you!