Wednesday of 14th Week of the Year, July 8, 2020

In the name of God, the prophet Hosea scolds the people of Israel, who have let prosperity lead them into a hypocritical religion. He calls them to conversion.
Jesus sends out his apostles as healers of the ills of people so that the new era of the kingdom of God can begin. They, and we too, have to be healers in a world that is harsh and pitiless and much in need of healing. Let the forgiveness and compassionate love we receive from God renew this world and make it God’s world and kingdom.

Opening Prayer
Lord our God,
you let your Son Jesus entrust
his good news of healing and liberation
to simple and weak people.
Make us much more aware, Lord,
that the good news of the kingdom
is fundamentally human,
accessible and easy to understand.
Let this good news grow in us
and transform us deeply
and fill us with the healing love
of Jesus Christ our Lord.

1 Reading: Hosea 10:1-3, 7-8, 12
Israel is a luxuriant vine whose fruit matches its growth. The more abundant his fruit, the more altars he built; The more productive his land, the more sacred pillars he set up. Their heart is false, now they pay for their guilt; God shall break down their altars and destroy their sacred pillars. If they would say, “We have no king”—Since they do not fear the LORD, what can the king do for them? The king of Samaria shall disappear, like foam upon the waters. The high places of Aven shall be destroyed, the sin of Israel; thorns and thistles shall overgrow their altars. Then they shall cry out to the mountains, “Cover us!” and to the hills, “Fall upon us!” “Sow for yourselves justice, reap the fruit of piety; break up for yourselves a new field, for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain down justice upon you.”

Responsorial Psalm 105:2-3, 4-5, 6-7
R. (4b) Seek always the face of the Lord. or: R. Alleluia.

Sing to him, sing his praise,
proclaim all his wondrous deeds.
Glory in his holy name;
rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD! R.

Look to the LORD in his strength;
seek to serve him constantly.
Recall the wondrous deeds that he has wrought,
his portents, and the judgments he has uttered. R.

You descendants of Abraham, his servants,
sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!
He, the LORD, is our God;
throughout the earth his judgments prevail. 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 10:1-7
Jesus summoned his Twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness. The names of the Twelve Apostles are these: first, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus; Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus. Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus, “Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town. Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”

In many books of the Old Testament, we read accounts of repeated failure. Perhaps no one describes God’s favour and human negligence as graphically as Hosea. In today’s reading Israel is described as a luxurious vine with abundant fruit. The children of the covenant, favoured with God’s law, had a future that was assured. But what resulted? Altars to pagan gods; productivity turned into wasted ingratitude. Their sacrifices, tainted with idolatry, were worth nothing. Their only future would be a return to bondage.
And yet hope for that dawn of a better was never lost. It came, although it turned out differently than expected. It involved a kingdom with a different kind of kings. It came at a moment of strong eschatological hope, but it did not follow the path of ordinary expectations. It was a kingdom of gentleness and humility. Its king came humble and riding on a donkey. This new kingdom introduced a time of forgiveness and hope, an opportunity to let the past be forgotten. Announced to Israel by unlettered Galilean labourers (whose names we hear in today’s Gospel), it would soon spread to the world. The kingdom of God is at hand. It is now present in our hearts and on our lips. We now live in the era of the great pardon.

– That our commitment to the work of justice and our sense of service may bear witness that the kingdom of God is alive among us, we pray:
– That the Lord may call many priests, religious and committed laypersons to announce the good news to the world, we pray:
– That in our Christian communities we may receive and live the word of God with open hearts and great zeal, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts
Our loving God,
you have given us without charge
this bread and wine.
Turn them by the power of the Holy Spirit
into your best free gift to us,
your Son Jesus Christ.
Dispose us to keep him not to ourselves
but to share him with all those around us
without any other preference than that of Jesus:
the poor, the needy, and the little people.
May this be the sign that we are your people,
that your kingdom is growing among us
and that you are our God now and for ever.

Prayer after Communion
Lord our God,
again we ask of you to make us more
your people of the covenant.
Through Jesus, your Son-with-us, make us all one,
praying and working together
to build up your kingdom among people.
Let none of us be an uncommitted spectator
but make each of us fully aware
that, weak and fallible as we are,
you need us and want us to be a holy people,
the sign to all of your lasting goodness.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

God sends us to be healers and to proclaim with our lives that the kingdom of heaven is here and growing in our world. May almighty God bless you for this task, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

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