Wednesday of 15th Week of the Year, July 15, 2020

God uses Assyria as an instrument to punish God’s people for their infidelity. Isaiah scolds the king of Assyria, a mere instrument, for acting and thinking as if he were God himself; he will be punished for this presumption.
To see God, to know that he is with us, to hear the message of the gospel, one must have the openness and receptivity of a child and be aware of one’s poverty. Salvation is given. Those who are filled with their own wisdom cannot hear or welcome him, for they try to conform God and the gospel to their own ideas, not theirs to God’s.

Opening Prayer
Lord of heaven and earth
from whom all good things come,
we bless you with Jesus your Son
for revealing to us how much you love us.
Make us humble and receptive of your gifts,
that we may be open to the good news
for you show yourself to those
who are aware of their poverty.
Fill that poverty with your tenderness
and with the certainty that you care for us
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

1 Reading: Isaiah 10:5-7, 13B-16
Thus says the LORD: Woe to Assyria! My rod in anger, my staff in wrath. Against an impious nation I send him, and against a people under my wrath I order him to seize plunder, carry off loot, and tread them down like the mud of the streets. But this is not what he intends, nor does he have this in mind; rather, it is in his heart to destroy, to make an end of nations not a few. For he says: “By my own power I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I am shrewd. I have moved the boundaries of peoples, their treasures I have pillaged, and, like a giant, I have put down the enthroned. My hand has seized like a nest the riches of nations; as one takes eggs left alone, so I took in all the earth; No one fluttered a wing, or opened a mouth, or chirped!” Will the axe boast against him who hews with it? Will the saw exalt itself above him who wields it? As if a rod could sway him who lifts it, or a staff him who is not wood! Therefore the Lord, the LORD of hosts, will send among his fat ones leanness, and instead of his glory there will be kindling like the kindling of fire.

Responsorial Psalm 94:5-6, 7-8, 9-10, 14-15
R. (14a) The Lord will not abandon his people.

Your people, O LORD, they trample down,
your inheritance they afflict.
Widow and stranger they slay,
the fatherless they murder. R.

And they say, “The LORD sees not;
the God of Jacob perceives not.”
Understand, you senseless ones among the people;
and, you fools, when will you be wise? R.

Shall he who shaped the ear not hear?
or he who formed the eye not see?
Shall he who instructs nations not chastise,
he who teaches men knowledge? R.

For the LORD will not cast off his people,
nor abandon his inheritance;
But judgment shall again be with justice,
and all the upright of heart shall follow it. R.

Alleluia: Matthew 11:25
R. Alleluia, alleluia. Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel: Matthew 11:25-27
At that time Jesus exclaimed: “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

A gift that is much discussed today but often lacking is discernment. In looking for answers to serious questions, we often settle for surface answers. Ephemerals. We are not interested in getting to the root of the question. In looking at war in the Middle East, we often find superficial answers for why the West is so disliked. The Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria are on the rampage but the Federal Government of Nigeria calls the mayhem mere “clashes” with landowners – farmers.
Isaiah dealt only with the fundamental questions. Assyria certainly was a power to be reckoned with, and its anger was directed against Israel and Judah. Yet Yahweh does not hesitate to call it his rod of anger.
Israel is paying the price for its sins. In the face of great tragedy, we are often reluctant to acknowledge our own possible fault. Yet the scriptures are clear. A wanton disregard for God’s law will lead to unfortunate consequences.
When we read today’s Gospel, we are led to ask, Are we too self-inflated to see where we fail? Are we more concerned about victory than we are about life? How important is it for Americans to be the only world superpower? Why does every media channel say it is the number one?
There is such a thing as social sin. As Christians we ignore it at our own peril. It is the childlike who hear and receive God’s saving word.

– For the clever and the learned, that Jesus may teach them to become little and humble, so that Jesus may teach them the Father’s love, we pray:
– For all of us, that God make his Son known to us deeply and lovingly, we pray:
For those who serve the poorest, that they may not get discouraged and through their service come to know God better, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts
Our mighty God,
you are partial to the poor.
From your own gifts
we bring before you bread and wine.
Make us as genuine and simple
as these offerings,
that we may understand readily
the simple story of your forgiveness and love,
which you tell us through your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

Prayer after Communion
Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
we thank you in the poverty of our hearts
that you have let us eat from Jesus’ table
notwithstanding our little faith
and our lukewarm love.
Keep accepting us the way we are,
help us to be and do better
and to render wholehearted service
to our brothers and sisters in need.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.

All is grace. God’s love is given gratuitously. Let us thank Him for all that we owe him and for all that we owe to people. May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

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