Esther 14:1,3-5,12-14

1 And Esther the queen, seized with deathly anxiety, fled to the Lord; 

3 And she prayed to the Lord God of Israel, and said: “O my Lord, thou only art our King; help me, who am alone and have no helper but thee, 4 for my danger is in my hand. 5 Ever since I was born I have heard in the tribe of my family that thou, O Lord, didst take Israel out of all the nations, and our fathers from among all their ancestors, for an everlasting inheritance, and that thou didst do for them all that thou didst promise. 12 Remember, O Lord; make thyself known in this time of our affliction, and give me courage, O King of the gods and Master of all dominion! 

13 Put eloquent speech in my mouth before the lion, and turn his heart to hate the man who is fighting against us, so that there may be an end of him and those who agree with him. 14 But save us by thy hand, and help me, who am alone and have no helper but thee, O Lord. 

Matthew 7:7-12

7 “Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! 12 So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.


THE FIRST READING: The Hebrew people stood in the way of king Artaxerxes’s attempt to annex twenty seven provinces and bring them all under his rule. The pretext of the king is to create a “tranquil” kingdom  under his supreme governance. Artaxerxes and his deputy Haman refused to accept the Hebrew people’s position that they have only one God that they will submit themselves to. Instead he wish to extinguish the Jewish people with their “strange laws.”

Today’s reading describes the desperate state and demeanor of Queen Esther who after many sincere attempts to intercede on behalf of the people,failed to change the mind of the King and his henchmen Haman who have ordered the extinction of the Jewish people. Queen Esther’s last resort to prevent a calamitous event to befall her people was to petition God to give her courage and to help her enumerate a defence that will turn the heart of the enemy.

THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW is a pretext on our Lord’s teaching that we do not judge others insofar as we wish them to die and go to hell! It is injurious to wish harm upon another irrespective of who they are or what they have done, instead we are called to pray for our enemies and present our petitions before the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord’s prayer is clear on this matter that we must forgive our enemy if we desire His forgiveness and intercession in our lives!

In the same way that we do not want to receive a “serpent” if we petition our Lord for a “fish,” so must be our desire to wish our enemies well and seek God’s blessings upon them! Our Lord is quite clear in this matter that we do not condemn our enemies and wish harm over them. These kinds of invocations and ‘prayers’ are vacuous and will not reach God’s ears,moreover it will be an indictment upon our soul! It is as if we are drinking the poison hoping our enemies would die! To be clear, this does not suggest that we refrain from admonishing or correcting one another with much love and compassion. We who acknowledge our shortcomings and wayward lives are called to seek God’s divine help without preconditions! 

LET US PRAY: Psalms 138:1-3,7-8

I give thee thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing thy praise; 2 I bow down toward thy holy temple and give thanks to thy name for thy steadfast love and thy faithfulness; for thou hast exalted above everything thy name and thy word. 3 On the day I called, thou didst answer me, my strength of soul thou didst increase. 7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou dost preserve my life; thou dost stretch out thy hand against the wrath of my enemies, and thy right hand delivers me. 8 The LORD will fulfil his purpose for me; thy steadfast love, O LORD, endures for ever. Do not forsake the work of thy hands. 

Catholic Witness Apostolate       Henry R SYLVESTER              

Note: The daily scripture readings are taken from the Roman Missal which the Catholic Church use in the daily Celebration of the Holy Eucharist throughout the world.Some weekly readings may differ because of the celebration of local feast days of saints around the world

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