Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 16.08.2023

Deuteronomy 34: 1 – 12

In those days: Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho. And the Lord showed him all the land, Gilead as far as Dan, all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the western sea, the Negeb, and the Plain, that is, the valley of Jericho the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar. And the Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there.” So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord, and he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth-peor; but no man knows the place of his burial to this day. Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died; his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated. And the sons of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days; then the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended. And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands upon him; so the people of Israel obeyed him, and did as the Lord had commanded Moses. And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, none like him for all the signs and the wonders which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, and for all the mighty power and all the great and terrible deeds which Moses wrought in the sight of all Israel.

The Word of the Lord.

Psalm 66: 1 – 3a, 5 and 8, 16 – 17 (R.) 20a, 9a

R/. Blest be God, who gave life to my soul.

Cry out with joy to God, all the earth;
O sing to the glory of his name.
O render him glorious praise.
Say to God, “How awesome your deeds!” R/.

Come and see the works of God:
Awesome his deeds among the children of men.
O peoples, bless our God;
Let the voice of his praise resound. R/.

Come and hear, all who fear God;
I will tell what he did for my soul.
To him I cried aloud,
With exaltation ready on my tongue. R/.

2nd Corinthians 5: 19

God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

“If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.”
MATTHEW 18: 15 – 20

At that time: 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 gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the Church; and if he refuses to listen even to the Church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, 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 I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

The Gospel of the Lord.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Praying Together with the Son
August 16, 2023

“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.” (Matthew 18:19–20)

This is a bold and awe-inspiring promise from our Lord. This passage reveals Jesus’ desire that we pray with others, uniting our prayer as one and offering it to the Father. Jesus says that when we do this in union with His prayer, our prayer will be answered.

The first thing to note is that this passage could easily be misunderstood. For example, is Jesus telling us that if two or more people get together and pray that it rains, then it will happen? Certainly not. The key to understanding this passage is found in the last line: “…there am I in the midst of them.” This means that the goal of gathering together with two or more people in prayer is to unite our unified prayer to the prayer of Jesus. The Father always hears and answers the prayer of the Son. No matter what the Son asks the Father, it is granted. Thus, this passage tells us that the goal of gathering together in prayer with others, that is, with the Church, is to unite ourselves with the one and eternal prayer of God the Son. This is first and foremost fulfilled within the Sacred Liturgy.

When we come together in the Liturgy, our prayer is always heard. Why? Because the Liturgy is first an action of God the Son in which He invites us, the Church, to share. And the prayer that is offered is the one and eternal prayer by which God the Son asks the Father to bring salvation to all those who accept the saving action of His sacrifice on the Cross. When we join in this prayer, it is granted.

What type of prayer is not answered? First, God does not grant that which fails to serve His mission. Second, if we pray for God’s will but fail to do our part, then our prayer cannot be answered. For example, if you pray that you overcome a particular sin but then fail to respond to the grace God gives, then this is not the fault of God. Third, praying for vengeance on those who have hurt us is ineffective. And fourth, praying for the conversion of one who refuses to repent will also be unable to be fulfilled, unless they ultimately repent. These are but a few examples.

What type of prayer is effective? As already mentioned, the prayer of the Liturgy as the one Sacrifice of Christ is always heard when we participate in it. But there are other ways that our united prayer will be fulfilled with certainty. For example, if you gather with others and together pray for the grace of deeper conversion, you can be certain that the grace will be offered. It is then up to you to open your heart to that grace so that it is effective. Or if you pray that God offers His mercy to someone caught in sin, you can be certain that that grace will be offered, even if the person refuses to accept it. And the list could go on. Simply put, if we gather with others and seek to unite our prayer to the one and perfect prayer of God the Son as it is offered to the Father in Heaven, then that prayer of the Son in which we share will be answered. Perhaps the best way to pray together in this way is to pray the “Our Father” prayer with another. This prayer is always heard and answered by the Father since it is the prayer given to us by the Son.

Reflect, today, upon God the Son praying to the Father. What is His perfect prayer? What does He ask the Father? Look for ways in which you can join with others to unite your own prayer to this prayer of the Son of God. Do this first and foremost in the Sacred Liturgy, but look for other ways in which you can practice this form of prayer. Praying together with others in union with the one prayer of Jesus will always be answered by the Father in Heaven.

My perfect Lord, all that You ask of the Father is granted to You. Please draw me and all the members of Your Church into Your perfect prayer to the Father. May we participate in this prayer especially through the Sacred Liturgy, and also as we gather as two or more. May we pray only with You and in accord with Your perfect will. Jesus, I trust in You.

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