Thursday of 14th Week of the Year, July 9, 2020

In poignant terms, Hosea describes how much God loves his child Israel. Even when he has to reprimand his people, God will be merciful, for he still loves his people, however wayward. He is God, not a mere human being.
Jesus sends his twelve apostles to announce the kingdom of heaven. They have to be detached from possessions, even from people. They are to be poor also in the sense that they must accept the insecurity of not being received well. Perhaps we could retain these words of Jesus today: you received without charge, give without charge: your love, your service, your commitment.

Opening Prayer
Lord our God,
you send us all on the mission
of making your kingdom known
by the way we live the gospel
of Jesus Christ, your Son.
Give us a sense of mission, we pray you,
and do not let the cares of the day
or the weight of possessions
keep us from bearing witness
that you are our God
and that Jesus is the Lord
who lives with you and the Holy Spirit for ever.

1 Reading: Hosea 11:1-4, 8E-9
Thus says the LORD: When Israel was a child I loved him, out of Egypt I called my son. The more I called them, the farther they went from me, Sacrificing to the Baals and burning incense to idols. Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, who took them in my arms; I drew them with human cords, with bands of love; I fostered them like one who raises an infant to his cheeks; Yet, though I stooped to feed my child, they did not know that I was their healer. My heart is overwhelmed, my pity is stirred. I will not give vent to my blazing anger, I will not destroy Ephraim again; For I am God and not man, the Holy One present among you; I will not let the flames consume you.

Responsorial Psalm 80:2AC AND 3B, 15-16
R. (4b) Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved.

O shepherd of Israel, hearken.
From your throne upon the cherubim, shine forth.
Rouse your power. R.

Once again, O LORD of hosts,
look down from heaven, and see:
Take care of this vine,
and protect what your right hand has planted,
the son of man whom you yourself made strong. R.

Alleluia Mark 1:15
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Kingdom of God is at hand:
repent and believe in the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel: Matthew 10:7-15
Jesus said to his Apostles: “As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give. Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts; no sack for the journey, or a second tunic, or sandals, or walking stick. The labourer deserves his keep. Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it, and stay there until you leave. As you enter a house, wish it peace. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; if not, let your peace return to you. Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet. Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the Day of Judgment than for that town.”

In speaking of God’s love for Israel, Hosea passes from the image of husband and wife to that of a parent and child. It was God who taught the child how to walk, held him in his arms, and hugged him. He brought his child out of Egyptian bondage.
And yet with all the care showered upon the child, he only wanders farther from his parent, ultimately burning incense to pagan gods. And still God’s constant love emerges, the unwillingness to abandon his child. Israel will not be destroyed. This song is a great testimony to God’s fidelity.
The good news of Jesus was to be carried with haste by those who received it. The apostles are not to be impeded—by money, clothing, or personal belongings. The message they bear is one of peace and joy. To reject it is to reject the kingdom; to accept it is to find the key to life.
Lord, give us hope in discouragement. Be always the light of our lives. We have failed many times, but we are grateful that you have never given up on us.

– That pastors and lay people in the Church may untiringly announce the good news as the source of happiness and peace for all, we pray:
– That we may find peace within ourselves, learn to accept ourselves, and set aside pride and hunger for power to seek genuine and lasting peace, we pray:
– That missionaries everywhere may make the Gospel credible by their evangelical lifestyle, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts
Lord our God,
Jesus, your Son comes among us
in the poverty of a piece of bread
and a few drops of wine.
As he gives himself to us free of charge,
may we too learn to share free of charge
what we have and are.
Let this be our offering to you
through Christ our Lord.

Prayer after Communion
Our generous God,
this has been a Eucharist,
a real thanksgiving to your merciful love.
Out of gratitude,
may we do the work your Son gave to his disciples:
to fight the forces of evil in and around us,
to heal and to care
and thus to proclaim in our deeds and lives
that you are a loving God
and that your Son Jesus Christ
is our saving Lord for ever.

We have received without charge all God’s forgiveness and life. Let also give them without charge and generously pass them on to one another, with the blessing of almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

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