Wednesday of the
Third Week in Lent
Epistle • Exodus 20:12-14
Lesson from the Book of Exodus.
[God on Mount Sinai commanded men to honor their parents and to love their neighbor.]
Thus saith the Lord God:
Honor thy father and thy mother, that thou mayest be long-lived upon the land, which the Lord thy God will give thee;
Thou shalt not kill;
Thou shalt not commit adultery;
Thou shalt not steal;
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor;
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors house: neither shalt thou desire his wife, nor his servants, nor his handmaid, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is his.
And all the people saw the voices, and the flames, and the sound of the trumpet, and the mount smoking: and being terrified, and struck with fear, they stood afar off, saying to Moses: Speak thou to us, and we will hear: let not the Lord speak to us, lest we die. And Moses said to the people: Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that the dread of Him might be in you, and you should not sin. And the people stood afar off.
But Moses went to the dark cloud wherein God was. And the Lord said to Moses: Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel: You have seen that I have spoken to you from Heaven. You shall not make gods of silver, nor shall you make to yourselves gods of gold. You shall make an altar of earth unto Me, and you shall offer upon it your holocausts and peace offerings, your sheep, and oxen in every place, where the memory of My Name shall be.
Gospel • Matthew 15:1-20
Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. Matthew.
[The Gospel tells us that the Pharisees added to the Commandments human traditions, which consisted of wholly exterior formalities and to which they attached more importance than they did to the law of Moses. The Church therefore seeks to put us on our guard against the observance of merely exterior practices of worship or fasts, which are not united to acts of charity.]
At that time the scribes and Pharisees came to Jesus from Jerusalem, saying: Why do Thy disciples transgress the tradition of the ancients? For they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But He answering, said to them: Why do you also transgress the commandment of God for your tradition? For God said: Honor thy father and mother. And: He that shall curse father or mother, let him die the death. But you say: Whosoever shall say to his father or mother: The gift, whatsoever proceedeth from me, shall profit thee: and he shall not honor his father or his mother: and you have made void the commandment of God for your tradition.
Hypocrites, well hath Isaias prophesied of you, saying: This people honoreth Me with their lips: but their heart is far from Me. And in vain do they worship Me, teaching doctrines and commandments of men. And having called together the multitudes unto Him, He said to them: Hear ye and understand. Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man, but what cometh out of the mouth this defileth a man.
Then came His disciples and said to Him: Dost Thou know that the Pharisees, when they heard this word, were scandalized? But He answering, said: Every plant which My heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they are blind and leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both fall into the pit.
And Peter answering, said to Him: Expound to us this parable. But He said: Are you also yet without understanding? Do you not understand that whatsoever entereth into the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the privy? But the things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart, and those things defile a man: for from the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies. These are the things that defile a man. But to eat with unwashed hands doth not defile a man.