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Liturgical day: Tuesday 32nd in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Wis 2:23—3:9): God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made them. But by the envy of the Devil, death entered the world, and they who are in his possession experience it. But the souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them. They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction. But they are in peace.

For if before men, indeed, they be punished, yet is their hope full of immortality; chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of himself. As gold in the furnace, he proved them, and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself. In the time of their visitation they shall shine, and shall dart about as sparks through stubble. They shall judge nations and rule over peoples, and the Lord shall be their King forever. Those who trust in him shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with him in love: because grace and mercy are with his holy ones, and his care is with his elect.
Responsorial Psalm: 33
R/. I will bless the Lord at all times.
I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall be ever in my mouth. Let my soul glory in the Lord; the lowly will hear me and be glad.

The Lord has eyes for the just, and ears for their cry. The Lord confronts the evildoers, to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.

When the just cry out, the Lord hears them, and from all their distress he rescues them. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
Verscicle before the Gospel (Jn 14:23): Alleluia. Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him. Alleluia.

Gospel text (Lk 17,7-10): Jesus said to his disciple, «Who among you would say to your servant coming in from the fields after plowing or tending sheep: ‘Come at once and sit down at table?’. No, you tell him: ‘Prepare my dinner. Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink; you can eat and drink afterwards’. Do you thank this servant for doing what you commanded? So for you. When you have done all that you have been told to do, you must say: ‘We are no more than servants; we have only done our duty’».

«We have only done our duty»

Fr. Jaume AYMAR i Ragolta
(Badalona, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, the Gospel message is not based on the master's attitude, but on the servant's. Jesus, with a parable, invites his apostles to consider the stance of service: the servant should fulfill his duties without expecting any reward: «Do you thank this servant for doing what you commanded?» (Lk 17:9). However, this is not the Master's last lesson on service. Later on, Jesus will tell his disciples: «I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father» (Jn 15:15). Friends do not have to render accounts to each other. If servants are to fulfill their duties, we, his apostles, who are Jesus' friends, must, even more so, accomplish the mission God has entrusted us with, while realizing our work does not deserve any recompense, for we make it joyously and, because whatever we have, whatever we are, is a gift we have received from God.

For those who believe, everything is a sign, for those who love, everything is a gift. Working for God's Kingdom is already a great reward; hence, the expression «We are no more than servants; we have only done our duty» (Lk 17:10) should not be interpreted with dejection or sadness, but with the joy of he who knows that has been called to spread the knowledge of the Gospel.

These days we also keep in mind the feast of a great saint, a great friend of Jesus, and very popular in the territory of Catalonia, St. Martin of Tours, who devoted all his life to the service of the Gospel of Christ. Sulpicius Severus writes of him: «Extraordinary man, whom neither toil and suffering, nor the fact of death could bend his resolve; he did not lean toward either side, he was not afraid of dying, but he did not refuse to live! Eyes and hands towards Heaven, his undefeated spirit kept on praying». In our prayers, in our dialogue with our Friend, that is where the secret and the strength of our service lie.