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Liturgical day: Friday 14th in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Gen 46:1-7.28-30): Israel set out with all that was his. When he arrived at Beer-sheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. There God, speaking to Israel in a vision by night, called, «Jacob! Jacob!». He answered, «Here I am». Then he said: «I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you a great nation. Not only will I go down to Egypt with you; I will also bring you back here, after Joseph has closed your eyes».

So Jacob departed from Beer-sheba, and the sons of Israel put their father and their wives and children on the wagons that Pharaoh had sent for his transport. They took with them their livestock and the possessions they had acquired in the land of Canaan. Thus Jacob and all his descendants migrated to Egypt. His sons and his grandsons, his daughters and his granddaughters, all his descendants—he took with him to Egypt. Israel had sent Judah ahead to Joseph, so that he might meet him in Goshen. On his arrival in the region of Goshen, Joseph hitched the horses to his chariot and rode to meet his father Israel in Goshen. As soon as Joseph saw him, he flung himself on his neck and wept a long time in his arms. And Israel said to Joseph, «At last I can die, now that I have seen for myself that Joseph is still alive».
Responsorial Psalm: 36
R/. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Trust in the Lord and do good, that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security. Take delight in the Lord, and he will grant you your heart's requests.

The Lord watches over the lives of the wholehearted; their inheritance lasts forever. They are not put to shame in an evil time; in days of famine they have plenty.

Turn from evil and do good, that you may abide forever; for the Lord loves what is right, and forsakes not his faithful ones.

The salvation of the just is from the Lord; he is their refuge in time of distress. And the Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.
Verscicle before the Gospel (Jn 16:13a;14:26b): Alleluia. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you to all truth and remind you of all I told you. Alleluia.

Gospel text (Mt 10,16-23): Jesus said to his disciples, «Look, I send you out like sheep among wolves. You must be clever as snakes and innocent as doves. Be on your guard with respect to people, for they will hand you over to their courts and they will flog you in their synagogues. You will be brought to trial before rulers and kings because of me, and so you may witness to them and the pagans. But when you are arrested, do not worry about what you are to say and how you are to say it; when the hour comes, you will be given what you are to say. For it is not you who will speak; but it will be the Spirit of your Father in you.

»Brother will hand over brother to death, and a father his child; children will turn against parents and have them put to death. Everyone will hate you because of me, but whoever stands firm to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next. For sure, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes».

«Everyone will hate you because of me»

Fr. Josep LAPLANA OSB Monk of Montserrat
(Montserrat, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, the Gospel emphasizes the troubles and contradictions we Christians have to suffer because of Christ and his Gospel, and how we must stand firm and persevere to the end. Jesus promised us: «I am with you always, until the end of the age» (Mt 28:20); but He did not promise his disciples an easy journey; on the contrary, He told them: «Everyone will hate you because of me» (Mt 10:22).

The Church and the world are two difficult to coexist realities. Church is bound to convert the world to Jesus Christ, but our world is not a neutral reality, as if of virgin wax waiting for the mould to shape it. This is what it would have been like, had there not been a history of sin between the creation of man and his redemption. But, as an isolated from God structure, the world obeys another lord, that St. John's Gospel names as “the lord of this world”, the soul's foe, whom —when baptized— the Christian has promised to disobey to, to stand up to him, so as to only belong to Jesus Christ and to the Mother Church, which begot him in Jesus Christ.

However, though christened, we still live in this world and not somewhere else; we do not give up our earthly citizenship nor do we deny our honest contribution to sustain and improve our world; our civic duties are also Christian duties; to pay taxes is a duty of fairness for Christians. Jesus said that his followers are in the world, but do not belong to the world (cf. Jn 17:14-15). We do not unconditionally belong to the world, we only belong to Jesus Christ and to the Church, our true spiritual fatherland, that is down here in our earth and goes through space and time barriers to finally disembark us in our definite destination, Heaven.

This double citizenship necessarily stumbles upon the forces of sin and its influence that powers the worldly mechanisms. When reviewing the history of Church, Newman said that «Church's brand is persecution and, perhaps, a longer-lasting one».