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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Monday 13th in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Amos 2:6-10.13-16): Thus says the Lord: For three crimes of Israel, and for four, I will not revoke my word; because they sell the just man for silver, and the poor man for a pair of sandals. They trample the heads of the weak into the dust of the earth, and force the lowly out of the way. Son and father go to the same prostitute, profaning my holy name. Upon garments taken in pledge they recline beside any altar; and the wine of those who have been fined they drink in the house of their god. Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorites before them, who were as tall as the cedars, and as strong as the oak trees. I destroyed their fruit above, and their roots beneath. It was I who brought you up from the land of Egypt, and who led you through the desert for forty years, to occupy the land of the Amorites.

Beware, I will crush you into the ground as a wagon crushes when laden with sheaves. Flight shall perish from the swift, and the strong man shall not retain his strength; the warrior shall not save his life, nor the bowman stand his ground; the swift of foot shall not escape, nor the horseman save his life. And the most stouthearted of warriors shall flee naked on that day, says the Lord.
Responsorial Psalm: 49
R/. Remember this, you who never think of God.
«Why do you recite my statutes, and profess my covenant with your mouth, though you hate discipline and cast my words behind you?».

«When you see a thief, you keep pace with him, and with adulterers you throw in your lot. To your mouth you give free rein for evil, you harness your tongue to deceit».

«You sit speaking against your brother; against your mother's son you spread rumors. When you do these things, shall I be deaf to it? Or do you think that I am like yourself? I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes».

«Consider this, you who forget God, lest I rend you and there be no one to rescue you. He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me; and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God».
Versicle before the Gospel (Ps 94:8): Alleluia. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mt 8,18-22): When Jesus saw the crowd press around him, Jesus gave orders to cross to the other shore. A teacher of the Law approached him and said, «Master, I will follow you wherever you go». Jesus said to him, «Foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head». Another disciple said to him, «Lord, let me go and bury my father first». But Jesus answered him, «Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead».

«Follow me»

Fr, Jordi PASCUAL i Bancells (Salt, Girona, Spain)

Today, the Gospel presents us —through two personages— a quality the good disciple of Jesus must have: to dispense with all material goods. Before, however, St. Matthew's text points out to a detail I would not like to overlook: «When Jesus saw the crowd press around him...» (Mt 8:18). Crowds gather around the Lord to listen to his words, to be healed of their material and spiritual sicknesses; they are seeking their salvation and a breath of eternal Life amidst a world in conflict.

As at that time, something similar happens in today's world: more or less consciously, we, all, need God's help, to satiate our heart with true spiritual goods, such as a better knowledge of Jesus Christ and a life of friendship and love for Him. Otherwise, we risk tumbling into the trap that fills out our heart with other “gods” giving no meaning to our lives: mobile phones, Internet, tourist holidays to the Bahamas, a frantic work to make more money, a better car than your neighbour or a gym where to excel with the best figure of them all... Right now, this is what is happening to many of us.

In sharp contrast, though, John Paul II's outcry to the youth, full of force and confidence, resounds: «It is possible to be both modern and profoundly faithful to Jesus Christ». It is needed, for this, as the Lord says, our breaking away with what may link us to a much materialized way of life that serves no purpose other than closing the doors to the Holy Spirit.

«The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head (...) Follow me» (Mt 8:22), says today's Gospel. And St. Gregory the Great reminds us: «Let temporal things be used, while keeping eternal realities in our desire; let earthly things be utilized for our trek, while desiring the eternal ones for the end of our journey». This is a good criterion to examine whether we are properly following Jesus.

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