Mass Readings: July 30

First: Leviticus 25:1,8-17
Resp: Psalm 67:2-3,5,7-8
Gospel: Matthew 14:1-12

Reprinted from Presentation Ministries, a lay association of the Catholic Church that focuses on evangelization and discipleship through Bible teaching, daily Mass, the charisms of the Holy Spirit, and Small Christian Community

PARTY LINE

"This fiftieth year you shall make sacred by proclaiming liberty in the land for all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you." –Leviticus 25:10

God told the Israelites to have a yearlong party every fiftieth year. This jubilee celebration was not an expression of self-indulgence, but of restoration, justice, peace, and freedom. In the jubilee year, land was restored to its original owner, slaves were freed, and the people celebrated a year of rest and recreation. Although the Israelites had a difficult time consistently celebrating the jubilee year, Jesus promised that He would make every year a jubilee year (Lk 4:19).

In today's Gospel reading, we have another kind of party: Herod's birthday party. This short party of just a day or two started off as an expression of self-indulgence and pride, and then turned into murder. Herod, Herodias, and Salome had John the Baptizer beheaded and brought his head in on a platter (Mt 14:11).

The jubilee year begins with the Day of Atonement (Lv 25:9). We forgive those who have hurt us and ask God to forgive us as we forgive others (Mt 6:12). Which party do you want to attend: Herod's birthday party or the jubilee year? By repentance and forgiveness we come to the jubilee year. If we refuse to repent and forgive, if we harbor a grudge (Mk 6:19), or nurse bitterness (Heb 12:15), we choose Herod's birthday party. Repent, forgive, and choose the Lord's party (Lk 4:18-19).

PRAYER: Father, may I never let the sun set on my anger, jealousy, bitterness, resentment, or unforgiveness (Eph 4:26).
PROMISE: "Do not deal unfairly, then; but stand in fear of your God." –Lv 25:17
PRAISE: Loyalty to the Church in both her teaching and authority was a high priority for St. Peter. He fought constantly against paganism and abuses in his time.