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Thoughts and Reflection

Today we read about more miracles from Jesus. He fed five thousand and four thousand people with leftovers. Just as the prophets Elijah and Elisha did, Jesus is feeding the hungry with food. Simon Peter shows great faith by believing that he can do what Jesus is doing. That is not humanly possible. We are all called to act as Jesus does which includes things that may exceed our own powers.

Jesus leads the disciples to Caesarea Philippi – a town about thirty miles north of Capernaum. Simon makes his great proclamation of faith and declares that Jesus is the Christ and the Messiah. Jesus assures that the Church will withstand all assaults no matter how bad it gets and he changes Simon’s name to Peter. Peter means rock and he says that he will build his Church upon this rock.

About This Project

For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!

Daily Readings

Matthew 14

1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard about the reputation of Jesus

2 and said to his court, ‘This is John the Baptist himself; he has risen from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.’

3 Now it was Herod who had arrested John, chained him up and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife.

4 For John had told him, ‘It is against the Law for you to have her.’

5 He had wanted to kill him but was afraid of the people, who regarded John as a prophet.

6 Then, during the celebrations for Herod’s birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company and so delighted Herod

7 that he promised on oath to give her anything she asked.

8 Prompted by her mother she said, ‘Give me John the Baptist’s head, here, on a dish.’

9 The king was distressed but, thinking of the oaths he had sworn and of his guests, he ordered it to be given her,

10 and sent and had John beheaded in the prison.

11 The head was brought in on a dish and given to the girl, who took it to her mother.

12 John’s disciples came and took the body and buried it; then they went off to tell Jesus.

13 When Jesus received this news he withdrew by boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves. But the crowds heard of this and, leaving the towns, went after him on foot.

14 So as he stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them and healed their sick.

15 When evening came, the disciples went to him and said, ‘This is a lonely place, and time has slipped by; so send the people away, and they can go to the villages to buy themselves some food.’

16 Jesus replied, ‘There is no need for them to go: give them something to eat yourselves.’

17 But they answered, ‘All we have with us is five loaves and two fish.’

18 So he said, ‘Bring them here to me.’

19 He gave orders that the people were to sit down on the grass; then he took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heavenand said the blessing. And breaking the loaves he handed them to his disciples, who gave them to the crowds.

20 They all ate as much as they wanted, and they collected the scraps left over, twelve baskets full.

21 Now about five thousand men had eaten, to say nothing of women and children.

22 And at once he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he sent the crowds away.

23 After sending the crowds away he went up into the hills by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone,

24 while the boat, by now some furlongs from land, was hard pressed by rough waves, for there was a head-wind.

25 In the fourth watch of the night he came towards them, walking on the sea,

26 and when the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. ‘It is a ghost,’ they said, and cried out in fear.

27 But at once Jesus called out to them, saying, ‘Courage! It’s me! Don’t be afraid.’

28 It was Peter who answered. ‘Lord,’ he said, ‘if it is you, tell me to come to you across the water.’

29 Jesus said, ‘Come.’ Then Peter got out of the boat and started walking towards Jesus across the water,

30 but then noticing the wind, he took fright and began to sink. ‘Lord,’ he cried, ‘save me!’

31 Jesus put out his hand at once and held him. ‘You have so little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’

32 And as they got into the boat the wind dropped.

33 The men in the boat bowed down before him and said, ‘Truly, you are the Son of God.’

34 Having made the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret.

35 When the local people recognised him they spread the news through the whole neighbourhood and took all that were sick to him,

36 begging him just to let them touch the fringe of his cloak. And all those who touched it were saved.

Matthew 15

1 Then Pharisees and scribes from Jerusalem came to Jesus and said,

2 ‘Why do your disciples break away from the tradition of the elders? They eat without washing their hands.’

3 He answered, ‘And why do you break away from the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?

4 For God said, “Honour your father and your mother” and “Anyone who curses his father or mother will be put to death.”

5 But you say, “If anyone says to his father or mother: Anything I might have used to help you is dedicated to God,

6 he is rid of his duty to father or mother.” In this way you have made God’s word ineffective by means of your tradition.

7 Hypocrites! How rightly Isaiah prophesied about you when he said:

8 This people honours me only with lip-service, while their hearts are far from me.

9 Their reverence of me is worthless; the lessons they teach are nothing but human commandments.’

10 He called the people to him and said, ‘Listen, and understand.

11 What goes into the mouth does not make anyone unclean; it is what comes out of the mouth that makes someone unclean.’

12 Then the disciples came to him and said, ‘Do you know that the Pharisees were shocked when they heard what you said?’

13 He replied, ‘Any plant my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots.

14 Leave them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind; and if one blind person leads another, both will fall into a pit.’

15 At this, Peter said to him, ‘Explain the parable for us.’

16 Jesus replied, ‘Even you — don’t you yet understand?

17 Can’t you see that whatever goes into the mouth passes through the stomach and is discharged into the sewer?

18 But whatever comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and it is this that makes someone unclean.

19 For from the heart come evil intentions: murder, adultery, fornication, theft, perjury, slander.

20 These are the things that make a person unclean. But eating with unwashed hands does not make anyone unclean.’

21 Jesus left that place and withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.

22 And suddenly out came a Canaanite woman from that district and started shouting, ‘Lord, Son of David, take pity on me. My daughter is tormented by a devil.’

23 But he said not a word in answer to her. And his disciples went and pleaded with him, saying, ‘Give her what she wants, because she keeps shouting after us.’

24 He said in reply, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.’

25 But the woman had come up and was bowing low before him. ‘Lord,’ she said, ‘help me.’

26 He replied, ‘It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to little dogs.’

27 She retorted, ‘Ah yes, Lord; but even little dogs eat the scraps that fall from their masters’ table.’

28 Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, you have great faith. Let your desire be granted.’ And from that moment her daughter was well again.

29 Jesus went on from there and reached the shores of the Lake of Galilee, and he went up onto the mountain. He took his seat,

30 and large crowds came to him bringing the lame, the crippled, the blind, the dumb and many others; these they put down at his feet, and he cured them.

31 The crowds were astonished to see the dumb speaking, the cripples whole again, the lame walking and the blind with their sight, and they praised the God of Israel.

32 But Jesus called his disciples to him and said, ‘I feel sorry for all these people; they have been with me for three days now and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them off hungry, or they might collapse on the way.’

33 The disciples said to him, ‘Where in a deserted place could we get sufficient bread for such a large crowd to have enough to eat?’

34 Jesus said to them, ‘How many loaves have you?’ They said, ‘Seven, and a few small fish.’

35 Then he instructed the crowd to sit down on the ground,

36 and he took the seven loaves and the fish, and after giving thanks he broke them and began handing them to the disciples, who gave them to the crowds.

37 They all ate as much as they wanted, and they collected what was left of the scraps, seven baskets full.

38 Now four thousand men had eaten, to say nothing of women and children.

39 And when he had sent the crowds away he got into the boat and went to the territory of Magadan.

Matthew 16

1 The Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to put him to the test they asked if he would show them a sign from heaven.

2 He replied, ‘In the evening you say, “It will be fine; there’s a red sky,”

3 and in the morning, “Stormy weather today; the sky is red and overcast.” You know how to read the face of the sky, but you cannot read the signs of the times.

4 It is an evil and unfaithful generation asking for a sign, and the only sign it will be given is the sign of Jonah.’ And he left them and went off.

5 The disciples, having crossed to the other side, had forgotten to take any food.

6 Jesus said to them, ‘Keep your eyes open, and be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’

7 And they said among themselves, ‘It is because we have not brought any bread.’

8 Jesus knew it, and he said, ‘You have so little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread?

9 Do you still not understand? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand and the number of baskets you collected?

10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand and the number of baskets you collected?

11 How could you fail to understand that I was not talking about bread? What I said was: Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’

12 Then they understood that he was telling them to be on their guard, not against yeast for making bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi he put this question to his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of man is?’

14 And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’

15 ‘But you,’ he said, ‘who do you say I am?’

16 Then Simon Peter spoke up and said, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’

17 Jesus replied, ‘Simon son of Jonah, you are a blessed man! Because it was no human agency that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven.

18 So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my community. And the gates of the underworld can never overpower it.

19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven: whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’

20 Then he gave the disciples strict orders not to say to anyone that he was the Christ.

21 From then onwards Jesus began to make it clear to his disciples that he was destined to go to Jerusalem and suffer grievously at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes and to be put to death and to be raised up on the third day.

22 Then, taking him aside, Peter started to rebuke him. ‘Heaven preserve you, Lord,’ he said, ‘this must not happen to you.’

23 But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle in my path, because you are thinking not as God thinks but as human beings do.’

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me.

25 Anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.

26 What, then, will anyone gain by winning the whole world and forfeiting his life? Or what can anyone offer in exchange for his life?

27 ‘For the Son of man is going to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will reward each one according to his behaviour.

28 In truth I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of man coming with his kingdom.’

Matthew 17

1 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain by themselves.

2 There in their presence he was transfigured: his face shone like the sun and his clothes became as dazzling as light.

3 And suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared to them; they were talking with him.

4 Then Peter spoke to Jesus. ‘Lord,’ he said, ‘it is wonderful for us to be here; if you want me to, I will make three shelters here, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’

5 He was still speaking when suddenly a bright cloud covered them with shadow, and suddenly from the cloud there came a voice which said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour. Listen to him.’

6 When they heard this, the disciples fell on their faces, overcome with fear.

7 But Jesus came up and touched them, saying, ‘Stand up, do not be afraid.’

8 And when they raised their eyes they saw no one but Jesus.

9 As they came down from the mountain Jesus gave them this order, ‘Tell no one about this vision until the Son of man has risen from the dead.’

10 And the disciples put this question to him, ‘Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?’

11 He replied, ‘Elijah is indeed coming, and he will set everything right again;

12 however, I tell you that Elijah has come already and they did not recognise him but treated him as they pleased; and the Son of manwill suffer similarly at their hands.’

13 Then the disciples understood that he was speaking of John the Baptist.

14 As they were rejoining the crowd a man came up to him and went down on his knees before him.

15 ‘Lord,’ he said, ‘take pity on my son: he is demented and in a wretched state; he is always falling into fire and into water.

16 I took him to your disciples and they were unable to cure him.’

17 In reply, Jesus said, ‘Faithless and perverse generation! How much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him here to me.’

18 And when Jesus rebuked it the devil came out of the boy, who was cured from that moment.

19 Then the disciples came privately to Jesus. ‘Why were we unable to drive it out?’ they asked.

20 He answered, ‘Because you have so little faith. In truth I tell you, if your faith is the size of a mustard seed you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move; nothing will be impossible for you.’

21 * [17:21] Some manuscripts add, “But this kind does not come out except by prayer and fasting”; this is a variant of the better reading of Mk 9:29. (USCCB)

22 When they were together in Galilee, Jesus said to them, ‘The Son of man is going to be delivered into the power of men;

23 they will put him to death, and on the third day he will be raised up again.’ And a great sadness came over them.

24 When they reached Capernaum, the collectors of the half-shekel came to Peter and said, ‘Does your master not pay the half-shekel?’

25 ‘Yes,’ he replied, and went into the house. But before he could speak, Jesus said, ‘Simon, what is your opinion? From whom do earthly kings take toll or tribute? From their sons or from foreigners?’

26 And when he replied, ‘From foreigners,’ Jesus said, ‘Well then, the sons are exempt.

27 However, so that we shall not be the downfall of others, go to the lake and cast a hook; take the first fish that rises, open its mouth and there you will find a shekel; take it and give it to them for me and for yourself.’

Proverbs 19:9-12

9 The false witness will not go unpunished, whoever utters lies will be destroyed.

10 It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury, still less for a slave to govern princes.

11 Good sense makes for self-control, and for pride in overlooking an offence.

12 Like the roaring of a lion, the anger of a king, but like dew on the grass his favour.

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