Daily Readings
Friday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Jos 24:1-13

Joshua gathered together all the tribes of Israel at Shechem,
summoning their elders, their leaders,
their judges and their officers.
When they stood in ranks before God, Joshua addressed all the people:
"Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel:
In times past your fathers, down to Terah,
father of Abraham and Nahor,
dwelt beyond the River and served other gods.
But I brought your father Abraham from the region beyond the River
and led him through the entire land of Canaan.
I made his descendants numerous, and gave him Isaac.
To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau.
To Esau I assigned the mountain region of Seir in which to settle,
while Jacob and his children went down to Egypt.

"Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and smote Egypt with the prodigies
which I wrought in her midst.
Afterward I led you out of Egypt, and when you reached the sea,
the Egyptians pursued your fathers to the Red Sea
with chariots and horsemen.
Because they cried out to the LORD,
he put darkness between your people and the Egyptians,
upon whom he brought the sea so that it engulfed them.
After you witnessed what I did to Egypt,
and dwelt a long time in the desert,
I brought you into the land of the Amorites
who lived east of the Jordan.
They fought against you, but I delivered them into your power.
You took possession of their land, and I destroyed them,
the two kings of the Amorites, before you.
Then Balak, son of Zippor, king of Moab,
prepared to war against Israel.
He summoned Balaam, son of Beor, to curse you;
but I would not listen to Balaam.
On the contrary, he had to bless you, and I saved you from him.
Once you crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho,
the men of Jericho fought against you,
but I delivered them also into your power.
And I sent the hornets ahead of you that drove them
(the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites,
Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites and Jebusites)
out of your way; it was not your sword or your bow.

"I gave you a land that you had not tilled
and cities that you had not built, to dwell in;
you have eaten of vineyards and olive groves
which you did not plant."

Responsorial Psalm Ps 136:1-3, 16-18, 21-22 and 24

R. His mercy endures forever.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever;
Give thanks to the God of gods,
for his mercy endures forever;
Give thanks to the LORD of lords,
for his mercy endures forever.
R. His mercy endures forever.
Who led his people through the wilderness,
for his mercy endures forever;
Who smote great kings,
for his mercy endures forever;
And slew powerful kings,
for his mercy endures forever.
R. His mercy endures forever.
And made their land a heritage,
for his mercy endures forever;
The heritage of Israel his servant,
for his mercy endures forever;
And freed us from our foes,
for his mercy endures forever.
R. His mercy endures forever.

Alleluia See 1 Thes 2:13

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Receive the word of God, not as the word of men,
but, as it truly is, the word of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 19:3-12

Some Pharisees approached Jesus, and tested him, saying,
"Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?"
He said in reply, "Have you not read that from the beginning
the Creator made them male and female and said,
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh
?
So they are no longer two, but one flesh.
Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate."
They said to him, "Then why did Moses command
that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss her?"
He said to them, "Because of the hardness of your hearts
Moses allowed you to divorce your wives,
but from the beginning it was not so.
I say to you, whoever divorces his wife
(unless the marriage is unlawful)
and marries another commits adultery."
His disciples said to him,
"If that is the case of a man with his wife,
it is better not to marry."
He answered, "Not all can accept this word,
but only those to whom that is granted.
Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so;
some, because they were made so by others;
some, because they have renounced marriage
for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven.
Whoever can accept this ought to accept it."


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Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.
Daily Meditation
Friday (August 18): "What God has joined together"

Scripture:  Matthew 19:3-12  

3 And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, "Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?" 4 He answered, "Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, `For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder." 7 They said to him, "Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?" 8 He said to them, "For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery." 10 The disciples said to him, "If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is not expedient to marry." 11 But he said to them, "Not all men can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. 12 For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it."

Meditation: What is God's intention for our state in life, whether married or single? Jesus deals with the issue of divorce by taking his hearers back to the beginning of creation and to God's plan for the human race. In Genesis 2:23-24 we see God's intention and ideal that two people who marry should become so indissolubly one that they are one flesh. That ideal is found in the unbreakable union of Adam and Eve. They were created for each other and for no one else. They are the pattern and symbol for all who were to come. Jesus explains that Moses permitted divorce as a concession in view of a lost ideal. Jesus sets the high ideal of the married state before those who are willing to accept his commands.

Whether married or single - be consecrated for the Lord Jesus, likewise sets the high ideal for those who freely renounce marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Both marriage and the single life are calls from God to live a consecrated life, that is to live as married couples or as singles who belong not to themselves but to God. Our lives are not our own, but they belong to God. He gives strength, joy, and blessing to those who seek to follow his way of holiness in their state of life. Do you seek the Lord Jesus and his grace for your state of life?

"Lord Jesus Christ, your call to holiness extends to all in every state of life. Sanctify our lives - as married couples and as singles - that we may live as men and women who are consecrated to you. Make us leaven in a society that disdains life-long marriage fidelity, chastity, and living single for the Lord."

 Psalm 136:1-3,16-18,21-22,24

1 O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures for ever. 2 O give thanks to the God of Gods, for his steadfast love endures for ever. 3 O give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures for ever; 16 to him who led his people through the wilderness, for his steadfast love endures for ever; 17 to him who smote great kings, for his steadfast love endures for ever; 18 and slew famous kings, for his steadfast love endures for ever; 21 and gave their land as a heritage, for his steadfast love endures for ever; 22 a heritage to Israel his servant, for his steadfast love endures for ever. 24 and rescued us from our foes, for his steadfast love endures for ever;

Daily Quote from the early church fathers: Don't separate what God has joined together, by John Chrysostom (347-407 AD) "Then he showed that it is a fearful thing to tamper with this law. When establishing this law, he did not say, 'Therefore, do not sever or separate' but 'What God has joined together, let man not separate.' If you quote Moses, I will quote the God of Moses, and with him I am always strong. For God from the beginning made them male and female. This law is very old, even if it appears human beings have recently discovered it. It is firmly fixed. And God did not simply bring the woman to her husband but ordered her also to leave her father and mother. And he not only ordered the man to go to the woman but also to cling to her, showing by his way of speaking that they could not be separated. And not even with this was God satisfied, but he sought also for another greater union: 'for the two shall be one flesh.'" (excerpt from THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW, HOMILY 62.1)

Meditations may be freely reprinted for non-commercial use - please cite credits: copyright (c) 2017 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Scripture quotations from Common Bible: Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.  Citation references for quotes from the writings of the early church fathers can be found here.