15th Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Is 38:1–6, 21–22, 7–8
In those days Hezekiah fell mortally ill and the prophet Isaiah, son of Amoz, went to him with a message from Yahweh, “Put your house in order for you shall die; you shall not live.”
Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to Yahweh, “Ah Yahweh! Remember how I have walked before you in truth and wholeheartedly, and done what is good in your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
Then the word of Yahweh came to Isaiah, “Go and tell Hezekiah what Yahweh, the God of his father David, says: I have heard your prayer and I have seen your tears. See! I am adding fifteen years to your life and I will save you and this city from the power of the king of Assyria. I will defend it for my sake and for the sake of David my servant.”
Isaiah then said, “Bring a fig cake to rub on the ulcer and let Hezekiah be cured!”
Hezekiah asked, “What is the sign that I shall go up to the house of the Lord?”
Isaiah answered, “This shall be for you a sign from Yahweh, that he will do what he has promised. See! I shall make the shadow descending on the stairway of Ahaz go back ten steps.” So the sunlight went back the ten steps it had covered on the stairway.
Gospel: Matthew 12:1-8
It happened that Jesus walked through the wheat fields on a Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and began to pick some heads of wheat and crush them to eat the grain. When the Pharisees noticed this, they said to Jesus, “Look at your disciples; they are doing what is prohibited on the Sabbath!”
Jesus answered, “Have you not read what David did when he and his men were hungry? He went into the house of God, and they ate the bread offered to God, although neither he nor his men had the right to eat it, but only the priests. And have you not read in the Law that on the Sabbath the priests in the Temple break the Sabbath rest, yet they are not guilty?
“I tell you, there is greater than the Temple here. If you really knew the meaning of the words: It is mercy I want, not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the innocent.
“Besides the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
“My yoke is easy and my burden light.” It is easy because it frees people from ‘the yoke of slavery’. It is not that there is no burden, but as a Rabbi put it, “My burden has become my song.” (He is no weight, he is my brother.) Countless Christians through the ages have borne heavy burdens but the chief characteristic of a Christian remains joy.
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