Pray every, every, every day

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

In the Old Testament reading we are told that the Lord’s house is a house of prayer and a house for all peoples. Foreigners are welcome to join themselves to the Lord. And in the Gospel passage it is a pagan woman, rather than a Jew, who comes to Jesus and asks for healing for her daughter. She is persistent in her request, willing to engage the Lord in banter, which Jesus uses to display the foreign woman’s great faith. He goes so far as to invoke the Jewish cultural view of her: she is the equivalent of a dog. Jesus did not view this woman as a dog. We know better. If anything, during this exchange, Jesus has repudiated the Jewish cultural notion of looking upon others as less than human or not worthy of God’s love and mercy. The epistle sheds a some light on this: God delivered all to disobedience, that he might have mercy upon all.

Jesus breaks cultural barriers and customs, showing that we all have a claim on God’s love. In yesterday’s reading the “outsiders” were the children, who were annoying the disciples. The adults wanted to push them aside, get them out of the way. In today’s reading, the outsider is both a pagan and a woman. Jesus has come to elevate and acknowledge the worth of each and every one of us, regardless of our heritage, our gender, our age, or any other aspect of ourselves that may differentiate us from others.

When it seems that God is not answering our prayer, we must not go away defeated, but engage him all the more.

Quote of the Day
Into the Deep: Finding Peace Through Prayer by Dan Burke

Some time ago my youngest brother, who is a bit baffled by my faith, asked me an important question: “Dan, do you pray every day?”

I replied, “Yes.”

He asked, “Every, every day?”

Again I said, “Yes.”

He then asked again but with an emphasis in his tone that reflected some measure of disbelief and a demand for an absolutely honest answer. “Every, every, every day?”

A light went on in my head, and I realized what he was really asking me. “Dennis, you don’t understand—I don’t pray because I am holy; I pray because I am not.” I continued, “I am not capable of living a life without God. This is why I pray every, every, every day.”

The idea of my own incapacity to live even a single day without prayer is not new or unique to me. One of the most oft-quoted sayings in the history of Christianity is St. Augustine’s line in his Confessions, “…our heart is restless until it rests in you.” The reason this is cited so often, even more than a thousand years after it was written, is that it rings true across all cultures and throughout all time. Any heart open to God says “yes” when it hears this beautiful expression. We know in the depths of our being that this is true. The reason it is true is revealed in the full quote, which reads, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in You.”

St. Augustine recognizes that our hearts are restless to the degree that we fail to orient all that we are to God. Our restlessness comes from a disorientation of our hearts. To the degree that we give ourselves  to God in prayer, the restlessness will begin to subside. To the degree that we give ourselves to God, we fulfill the purpose of our existence; we know union with God and thus know the peace and joy that enable us to face and overcome whatever comes our way.

If your heart is restless like mine, there is a path to peace and joy available to you. This path can only be found in and through prayer.

Scriptures of the Day

Old Testament: Isaiah 56:1, 6–7

Thus says the LORD:
Observe what is right, do what is just;
for my salvation is about to come,
my justice, about to be revealed.

The foreigners who join themselves to the LORD,
ministering to him,
loving the name of the LORD,
and becoming his servants—
all who keep the sabbath free from profanation
and hold to my covenant,
them I will bring to my holy mountain
and make joyful in my house of prayer;
their burnt offerings and sacrifices
will be acceptable on my altar,
for my house shall be called
a house of prayer for all peoples.

Responsorial Psalm: 67:2–3, 5, 6, 8

May God have pity on us and bless us;
may he let his face shine upon us.
So may your way be known upon earth;
among all nations, your salvation.
R. O God, let all the nations praise you!

May the nations be glad and exult
because you rule the peoples in equity;
the nations on the earth you guide.
R. O God, let all the nations praise you!

May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you!
May God bless us,
and may all the ends of the earth fear him!
R. O God, let all the nations praise you!

Epistle: Romans 11:13–15, 29–32

Brothers and sisters:
I am speaking to you Gentiles.
Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles,
I glory in my ministry in order to make my race jealous
and thus save some of them.
For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world,
what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.
Just as you once disobeyed God
but have now received mercy because of their disobedience,
so they have now disobeyed in order that,
by virtue of the mercy shown to you,
they too may now receive mercy.
For God delivered all to disobedience,
that he might have mercy upon all.

Gospel: Matthew 15:21–28

At that time, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out,
“Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David!
My daughter is tormented by a demon.”
But Jesus did not say a word in answer to her.
Jesus’ disciples came and asked him,
“Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.”
He said in reply,
“I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
But the woman came and did Jesus homage, saying, “Lord, help me.”
He said in reply,
“It is not right to take the food of the children
and throw it to the dogs.”
She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps
that fall from the table of their masters.”
Then Jesus said to her in reply,
“O woman, great is your faith!
Let it be done for you as you wish.”
And the woman’s daughter was healed from that hour.

Prayer

May  Jesus heal us individually and collectively as a nation of wrong notions about our brothers and sisters, and unified in Christ, may we live in peace and joy. May all find welcome in our houses of prayer.

Question of the Day

So how is your prayer life? Do you pray every, every, every day?

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The way of spiritual childhood

Feast Day of Saint John Eudes

Gospel of the Day: Matthew 19:13–15

Children were brought to Jesus
that he might lay his hands on them and pray.
The disciples rebuked them, but Jesus said,
“Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them;
for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
After he placed his hands on them, he went away.

Quote of the Day
In Conversation With God, Vol. 4, Francis Fernandez

63.1 Christ’s love for children and for those who become like children.

Our Lord also reveals to us in this Gospel passage that his Kingdom belongs to those who become “as children.” This means having a clean heart and soul, being sincere and uncomplicated, without pride or pretensions. Before God we are indeed as little children, and should act accordingly. Being at the start of life, the child is open to any adventure. So it should be with you. Don’t put any obstacle in the way of your progressive union with Christ, a process which should continue throughout your whole life. [C. Lubich, Words of Life, 47]

63.2 Life of childhood and divine filiation.

In the Incarnation the Son of God could have presented himself to mankind as an angel, or as an all-powerful sovereign. Yet he chose to present himself in the weak and fragile condition of a new-born babe. He chose to be helpless as a child, as if He needed protection and love.

God has wanted us to imitate his Son in this choice, to become what in fact we are — helpless children constantly in need of God’s assistance. See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.  [1 John 3:1] These few words capture the fundamental truths of our Faith. They show us how we should deal with our God. To become like children … this requires a real change of heart that will transform all of our thoughts and actions. What must we do to become like children? First of all we must really have to want to be sons of God, ever docile to his Will, being of clean mind and body, humble and sincere. This desire is evidenced in the lives of the saints. As they have become more and more transformed by the action of the Holy Spirit they have increasingly seen themselves as sons of God. To become like children in the spiritual life is more than simply a beneficial  and praiseworthy devotion. It is the expressed desire  of the Lord. Although not every saint has manifested this attitude explicitly, this has been the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of each and every one.

A foolish child wails and stamps his feet when his loving mother puts  a needle to his finger to get a splinter out. A sensible child, on the other hand, perhaps with his eyes full of tears — for the flesh is weak — looks gratefully at his good mother who is making him suffer a little in order to avoid much greater harm. Jesus, may I be a sensible child. [Saint Josemaria Escriva, The Forge, 329] This is our request in this time of prayer — that we learn how to understand sickness, pain, apparent professional failure … that we shall find in such setbacks the providential hand of a Father who never ceases to watch over his sons and daughters. We will accept with a smile whatever life has to offer us, in good times and in bad, and we will se it as something sent or else permitted by Someone who is infinitely wise, Someone who is infinitely in love with us.

A life of childhood has nothing to do with behaving  childishly. A foolish child wails and stamps his feet … childishness has to do with personal immaturity, with a lack of self-discipline, with an overall absence of personal struggle. Such behavior can accompany people throughout their entire life. There are those who enter into old age, and even go to their deaths, without knowing they are children of God. True spiritual childhood  entails real maturity — supernatural vision, consideration of events with the eyes of faith and with the help of the Holy Spirit. This maturity brings with it sincerity and simplicity: its possessor has become a sensible child … In contrast, he who readily accedes to his whims, who gives in to his emotions and his every idea, who is constantly preoccupied  with himself, this person will not make progress on the way of spiritual childhood. The man who is simple as a child is completely taken up with the glory of his Father God, just as his Master was in his earthly life. The true child, the true son, the true daughter has a steady relationship with Abba, his and her Father.

 

Be patient with me; increase my love

Nineteenth Week of Ordinary Time – Thursday

Yesterday’s Gospel was about God’s desire to forgive the infinite debt we owe him due to our sins. To look upon the crucified Christ is to know that our debt has been paid. Today’s Gospel is about our opportunity to image God the Father in the world by forgiving those who sin against us and whose debt to us is much less than what we owe God, who has given us every good thing. Jesus is clear that God can forgive us only to the extent that we forgive others. (The cup you use to measure others is the cup God will use to measure you.)

Gospel of the Day: Matthew 18:21–19:1

Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
“Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive him?
As many as seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.
That is why the Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who decided to settle accounts with his servants.
When he began the accounting,
a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount.
Since he had no way of paying it back,
his master ordered him to be sold,
along with his wife, his children, and all his property,
in payment of the debt.
At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’
Moved with compassion the master of that servant
let him go and forgave him the loan.
When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants
who owed him a much smaller amount.
He seized him and started to choke him, demanding,
‘Pay back what you owe.’
Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’
But he refused.
Instead, he had the fellow servant put in prison
until he paid back the debt.
Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened,
they were deeply disturbed,
and went to their master and reported the whole affair.
His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant!
I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.
Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant,
as I had pity on you?’
Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers
until he should pay back the whole debt.
So will my heavenly Father do to you,
unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.”

When Jesus finished these words, he left Galilee
and went to the district of Judea across the Jordan.

Quote of the Day
In Conversation With God, Vol. 4, Francis Fernandez

61.1 The innumerable benefits from the Lord.

…This first debtor symbolizes our own situation; we owe God so much that we can never hope to pay the debt. We owe him the gift of our creation. He preferred to create us as we are rather than in another way. He created our bodies with the help of our parents, but He created our immortal souls as well as our bodies in a direct, unrepeatable act. He made our bodies and souls to be eternally happy in Heaven. We find ourselves in the world by His express desire. We owe God our conservation in existence, since without him everything would return to nothing. He has given us the energies and qualities of our body and spirit, our health, our life and all the goods we possess. Over and above this natural order, we are in his debt for his supernatural benefits such as the Incarnation of his Son, the Redemption, our divine filiation, our being called to participate in the divine life here on earth and later in Heaven with the glorification of body and soul.

We are indebted to God for the immense gift of being sons and daughters of the Church, in which we have the blessing of receiving the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist. In the Church we share through the Communion of Saints in the good works of the other members of the faithful. At any moment we are receiving graces through those other members, those who are at prayer or who are offering up their work or their sufferings … We are also continually receiving benefits from the saints in Heaven, from the holy souls in Purgatory and from the angels. All of these graces reach us through the intercession of Mary, our Mother. Their source lies in the infinite merits of Christ, our Head, our Redeemer and Mediator. These helps are bestowed upon us daily, keeping us from sin, lighting up our souls, moving us to fulfil our duties to do the good that is possible in every moment, to be silent when others complain, to go to the defence or the assistance of the most needy …

We owe God for the grace that is always necessary for any good works, to be true to our resolutions, to deepen our desires to follow Jesus Christ and to make progress in the acquisition of virtues. …

Truly, we are insolvent debtors who have not the wherewithal to pay our debt. We can only adopt the attitude of the bankrupt servant in the parable: So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Lord,, have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ Since we are his sons, we can petition him with an unlimited confidence. Fathers do not remember the loans they have made out of love to their little children. Draw strength from your divine filiation. God is a Father — your Father! — full of warmth and infinite love. call him Father frequently and tell him, when you are alone, that you love him, that you love him very much, and that you feel proud and strong because you are his son. (St J Escriva, The Forge, 331). Our older brother, Jesus Christ, will more than pay in full for all of us.

61.3 Gratitude towards all people; always forgiving every offence

Always and everywhere to give you thanks … This is what our attitude should be towards God. We should be grateful at every moment, in whatever circumstances. This includes those times when we have trouble understanding some event. …Everything that happens to us is a continuous call ut in gratiarum actione semper manemus, that we remain always in an ongoing act of thanksgiving.

Ut in gratiarum actione semper maneamus … We have to bring this attitude  to the fore in our daily life. We need to take advantage of the little happenings of each day to show our gratitude in family life, at work, with our friends … We show our gratitude to the man who sells us a newspaper, to the clerk who attends to us, to the driver who allows us to enter traffic, to the friendly pharmacist at the corner shop.

In this passage from the Gospel the Lord shows us another way to settle our accounts with him. This includes all the debts we have contracted through our sins and omissions. The Lord wants us to forgive those offences which are done to us. IN the worst kind of situation we can imagine, the sum of those offences we receive will not exceed one hundred denarii, a somewhat ridiculous amount compared with the ten thousand talents (some sixty million denarii). If we know how to forgive the offences done to us by others (perhaps even to the extent of a really grievous injury), then our Lord will not hold against us the enormous debt we owe him. This is the condition Jesus imposes at the conclusion of the parable. And this is what we say to God each day when we pray the Our Father: Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. When we forgive and forget, we imitate Our Lord, since nothing makes us more like unto God than to be always willing to forgive (St John Chrysostom, Homilies on St Matthew’s Gospel, 19.7).

We finish our meditation with a prayer that has been traditionally popular with the faithful: I thank you my God for having created me, redeemed me, made me a Christian, and given me life. I offer you my thoughts, words, and actions of this day. Do not allow me to offend you and give me strength to flee from occasions of sin. Increase my love for you and for everyone.

He wants to pardon everyone

Nineteenth Week of Ordinary Time – Wednesday

Gospel of the Day: Matthew 18:15–20

Jesus said to his disciples:
“If your brother sins against you,
go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.
If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.
If he does not listen,
take one or two others along with you,
so that every fact may be established
on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
If he refuses to listen to them, tell the Church.
If he refuses to listen even to the Church,
then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.
Amen, I say to you,
whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven,
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth
about anything for which they are to pray,
it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.
For where two or three are gathered together in my name,
there am I in the midst of them.”

Quote of the Day
In Conversation With God, Vol. 4, Francis Fernandez

60.1 The promise of the sacrament of Penance and its institution. Giving thanks for this sacrament.

Jesus is well aware of our weaknesses and failings. That is why he instituted the sacrament of Penance. He wanted us to be able to straighten out our ways whenever necessary. Christ had the power to forgive sins and He exercised it on a number of occasions — with the woman taken in adultery (John 8:11), with the good thief hanging from the cross (Luke 23:43), with the paralytic of Capharnaum (Mark 2:1–12) … He came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10), just as he does now in our own day.

The prophets had prepared the way and foretold this restoration of all things in Christ and the reconciliation of man with God. It is reflected in the words of Isaiah: Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool (Is 1:18). This was  also the mission of the Baptist, who came to preach a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Mark 1:4). How is it then that people wince when the Church preaches the need for Confession?

Jesus shows his mercy above all in his approach to sinners. I know the plans I have for you, plans for peace and not affliction (Jer. 29:11). This was God’s promise through Jeremiah. The liturgy applies these words to Jesus, for it is through him that God reveals his infinite love for us. He did not come to condemn us, to remind us of our pettiness and lack of virtue. He came to save us, to pardon us, to excuse us, to bring us peace and joy (St Josemaria Escriva, Christ is passing by). He sought to pardon those men and women he met on the roads and in the villages of Palestine. He wants to pardon everyone who lives on the earth for the rest of time. …

60.2 Reasons for our gratitude

… In Confession we encounter Jesus, in the same way that the good thief met him, as did the woman caught in adultery, the Samaritan woman and so many others. We meet Jesus as Peter did after his denials. Inasmuch as the remission of sins is an action of Christ, it is at the same time an action of the Mystical Body, the Church.

We should also give thanks for the universality of this power granted to the Church in the person of the Apostles and their successors. The Lord is ready to forgive everything in everyone, always, as long as he finds the proper dispositions. …

Jesus says to us: I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. In Confession he gives us the opportunity to empty all worldliness from the soul, to have a thorough cleaning out. Imagine that God wants you to be overflowing with honey, but you are full of vinegar. Where can God put the honey? asks Saint Augustine. First you have to empty and clean out the container. … The Holy Spirit will increase the sensitivity of our souls if we make the little effort required to confess our sins frequently, to examine our consciences diligently and make good resolutions. We will acquire an interior refinement of soul characterized by a horror of mortal sin. We will flee from the occasions of mortal sin while we grow in our hatred of venial sin. In this manner, Confession fills us with confidence in the struggle. Those who practice it have found it to be “the sacrament of joy.”

…With this aid we make progress in humility. We combat un-Christian customs. We confront lukewarmness head on. We strengthen our will and increase sacramental grace in ourselves by the virtue of the sacrament of Penance. How mamy benefits we receive from the Lord through this wonderful sacrament!

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Anchored in love, miles offshore

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

Gospel of the Day: Matthew 14:22–33

After he had fed the people, Jesus made the disciples get into a boat
and precede him to the other side,
while he dismissed the crowds.
After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.
When it was evening he was there alone.
Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore,
was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it.
During the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them walking on the sea.
When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified.
“It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear.
At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Peter said to him in reply,
“Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
He said, “Come.”
Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.
But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened;
and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught Peter,
and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
After they got into the boat, the wind died down.
Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying,
“Truly, you are the Son of God.”

Quote of the Day

In Conversation With God, Vol. 4 by Francis Fernandez

55.3 Confidence in God. He never arrives late to rescue us, if we go to him with faith and use the means available to us.

Peter stayed on his feet — even when facing the greatest difficulties —  as long as he acted with supernatural outlook, with faith, with confidence in the Lord. Later, in order to stay afloat, to receive God’s help, he had to cooperate, because when our cooperation is lacking divine help also ceases [Saint John Chrysostom, Homilies on St Matthew’s Gospel, 50, 2] . It was our Lord who helped him to go on.

The experience of our personal weakness will serve for us to find Jesus who puts out his hand and enters our heart, giving us great peace in the midst of any trial. We should learn never to be afraid of God, who presents himself in ordinary things, as well as in the physical and moral sufferings we may experience in our lives. Have confidence; it is I, do not fear. God never delays coming to our rescue, and never fails to remedy every need. He arrives — at times in a hidden and mysterious way — at the opportune time. And when, for whatever reason, we find ourselves in a difficult situation — with the wind against  us — He comes close to us. He may pass as if to continue on so that we will call out to him, but He will not delay in coming to our side when we do.

If at times we realize that we are out of our depth, that we are sinking, we should repeat with Peter, Lord, save me! We should neither doubt  his Love nor his merciful hand. We should not forget that God does not demand the impossible. Instead, when He makes a request, He asks that we do what we can do, that we ask for what we cannot do and for his help to carry it out. [Saint Augustine, On nature and grace, 43]

What certainty our Lord gives us! He has guaranteed his protection. I do not depend on my own strength, my certainty, my tranquil haven. Even if the entire world is shaken, I read the written word I carry with me, for it is my fortress, my defence. And what does this word tell me? “I will be with you until the end of the world” it says.

Christ is with me. What shall I fear? Let the waves of the sea and the fury of the powerful come upon me. That will not weight me down any more than a spider’s web. [Saint John Chrysostom, Homily before departing for the desert] Let us not let go of his hand. He does not let go of ours.

We end our prayer asking Our Lady to intercede for us. She will help us to cry out confidently the liturgical prayer, Renew O Lord, the marvels of your love. [Divine Office, Sunday of the Third Week, Vespers] May we live firmly anchored in your love.

 

 

The Lord himself will fight for you

Question of the Day

What victory does the Lord want to win for you today?
How can we glorify God?

Avanti!

In the Gospel reading today men demand signs of Jesus. Still today, men want proofs. But if they got them, they would most likely try to rationalize the sign and remain obstinate in disbelief. As Father Abraham told the rich man who merited eternal hellfire: if your brothers don’t believe Moses and the prophets, they won’t believe a man rising from the dead. (Luke 16:19–31)

In the OT reading, the Israelites are complaining to Moses, looking back to their past and claiming that their former enslavement is preferable to the current situation. The circumstance seems impossible: the Red Sea ahead and Pharaoh’s army in pursuit behind. Moses encourages the people, but then himself turns to God. God asks Moses “why are you crying out to me? Go forward!”

As with the Israelites, God is in our midst, ready to act. God has given and does give proofs—but not in response to our incredulity and at our demand. We, like the Israelites, are afraid, preferring the familiar comfort of slavery to sin. When Jesus healed the ten lepers, it was not an instantaneous sign. They were healed “on the way.” In doing what Jesus asked them to do, in trust, in going forward, they realized the healing had taken place. So there is the stillness of trust, but also the action of obedience and moving forward.

Fear and comfort keep us behind. Trust not only launches us forward but is the prerequisite for God to do what only he can do: split the sea, make a way, and conquer our enemies. What other sign do you want?

For us to sing the responsorial psalm and claim “the Lord is a warrior!” we must first acknowledge our weakness—be it our powerlessness over a sin that seems to have conquered us or an external oppression. As Saint Paul said, when he is weak, he is strong (2 Corinthians 12). This paradox is possible only in and with Jesus Christ.

Sometimes the greatest challenge in our life is to be patient with ourselves, to be present to the current situation, and to be still and in humble trust wait for the Lord to win the victory.

Scriptures of the Day

Old Testament: Exodus 14:5–18

When it was reported to the king of Egypt
that the people had fled,
Pharaoh and his servants changed their minds about them.
They exclaimed, “What have we done!
Why, we have released Israel from our service!”
So Pharaoh made his chariots ready and mustered his soldiers—
six hundred first-class chariots
and all the other chariots of Egypt, with warriors on them all.
So obstinate had the LORD made Pharaoh
that he pursued the children of Israel
even while they were marching away in triumph.
The Egyptians, then, pursued them;
Pharaoh’s whole army, his horses, chariots and charioteers,
caught up with them as they lay encamped by the sea,
at Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon.

Pharaoh was already near when the children of Israel looked up
and saw that the Egyptians were on the march in pursuit of them.
In great fright they cried out to the LORD.
And they complained to Moses,
“Were there no burial places in Egypt
that you had to bring us out here to die in the desert?
Why did you do this to us?
Why did you bring us out of Egypt?
Did we not tell you this in Egypt, when we said,
‘Leave us alone. Let us serve the Egyptians’?
Far better for us to be the slaves of the Egyptians
than to die in the desert.”
But Moses answered the people,
“Fear not! Stand your ground,
and you will see the victory the LORD will win for you today.
These Egyptians whom you see today you will never see again.
The LORD himself will fight for you; you have only to keep still.”

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me?
Tell the children of Israel to go forward.
And you, lift up your staff and, with hand outstretched over the sea,
split the sea in two,
that the children of Israel may pass through it on dry land.
But I will make the Egyptians so obstinate
that they will go in after them.
Then I will receive glory through Pharaoh and all his army,
his chariots and charioteers.
The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD,
when I receive glory through Pharaoh
and his chariots and charioteers.”

Responsorial Psalm: Exodus 15:1BC–2, 3–4, 5–6

I will sing to the LORD, for he is gloriously triumphant;
horse and chariot he has cast into the sea.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
He is my God, I praise him;
the God of my father, I extol him.
R. Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.

The LORD is a warrior,
LORD is his name!
Pharaoh’s chariots and army he hurled into the sea;
the elite of his officers were submerged in the Red Sea.
R. Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.

The flood waters covered them,
they sank into the depths like a stone.
Your right hand, O LORD, magnificent in power,
your right hand, O LORD, has shattered the enemy.
R. Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.

Gospel: Matthew 12:38–42

Some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus,
“Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.”
He said to them in reply,
“An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign,
but no sign will be given it
except the sign of Jonah the prophet.
Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights,
so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth
three days and three nights.
At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation
and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah;
and there is something greater than Jonah here.
At the judgment the queen of the south will arise with this generation
and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth
to hear the wisdom of Solomon;
and there is something greater than Solomon here.”