Twentieth Week of Ordinary Time: Aug. 14 - 20, 2005
Alexander, Andy, S.J.
Collaborative Ministry Office
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The Twentieth Week of Ordinary TimeGod's love belongs to all of us, according to the readings of the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time. In Isaiah, God promises "my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples." Paul, in his Letter to the Romans, tells us "the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable" and refers to himself as the "apostle to the Gentiles." In Matthew's Gospel, Jesus hears the pleas of a "foreign" woman, a Canaanite who begs Jesus to heal her daughter.Monday we have special readings for the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Revelation reading tells of "a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet" who gives birth to a son, "destined to rule all nations." In Luke's Gospel Mary greets her pregnant cousin, Elizabeth, and Elizabeth prays, "How does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?"Starting Tuesday, we have three days of readings from the Book of Judges. We read of God"s call of Gideon to be a leader of his tribe; of Gideon"s son Abimelech who unfairly was made king and his brother Jotham's response; and of Jephtha's promise to God to sacrifice the first person he saw if only he was victorious in battle. After his victory, Jephtha's only child ran to greet him and he sacrificed her. The Psalm reading for that day reminds us that "Sacrifice or oblation you wished not, but ears open to obedience."Two days of readings from the Book of Ruth tell the moving story of Naomi and her loving daughter-in-law Ruth. Ruth leaves her own homeland to return with Naomi to Bethlehem, where Ruth remarries and has a child, Obed, who will become the grandfather of the great king, David.In the continuing stories of Matthew's Gospel, Jesus tells parables which introduce the counter-cultural idea that riches may make it more difficult to be saved, the story of the Master of the vineyard who leaves us with the phrase "The last will be first and the first, last," and the guests who are too busy to attend the wedding feast of the king's son. Friday, Jesus tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Saturday, the Memorial of Saint Bernard, Jesus says. "Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted."The readings for the Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time offer us a reading from Isaiah, where a servant is named a ruler and given the keys to the House of David. The Letter to the Romans is grateful and passionate as Paul cries out, "Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!" In the Matthew's Gospel, Jesus asks Peter, "Who do you say that I am?" and Peter's proclamation to Jesus in front of the other disciples, "You are the Christ" prompts Jesus to offer Peter the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven as he calls him the rock on which his church would be built.