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A team of 200 priests comment on daily Gospel

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Liturgical day: Saturday 19th in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Josh 24:14-29): Joshua gathered together all the tribes of Israel at Shechem, and addressed them, saying: «Fear the Lord and serve him completely and sincerely. Cast out the gods your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. If it does not please you to serve the Lord, decide today whom you will serve, the gods your fathers served beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are dwelling. As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord».

But the people answered, «Far be it from us to forsake the Lord for the service of other gods. For it was the Lord, our God, who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, out of a state of slavery. He performed those great miracles before our very eyes and protected us along our entire journey and among all the peoples through whom we passed. At our approach the Lord drove out all the peoples, including the Amorites who dwelt in the land. Therefore we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God».

Joshua in turn said to the people, «You may not be able to serve the Lord, for he is a holy God; he is a jealous God who will not forgive your transgressions or your sins. If, after the good he has done for you, you forsake the Lord and serve strange gods, he will do evil to you and destroy you».

But the people answered Joshua, «We will still serve the Lord». Joshua therefore said to the people, «You are your own witnesses that you have chosen to serve the Lord». They replied, «We are, indeed!». Joshua continued: «Now, therefore, put away the strange gods that are among you and turn your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel». Then the people promised Joshua, «We will serve the Lord, our God, and obey his voice».

So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day and made statutes and ordinances for them at Shechem, which he recorded in the book of the law of God. Then he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak that was in the sanctuary of the Lord. And Joshua said to all the people, «This stone shall be our witness, for it has heard all the words which the Lord spoke to us. It shall be a witness against you, should you wish to deny your God». Then Joshua dismissed the people, each to his own heritage. After these events, Joshua, son of Nun, servant of the Lord, died at the age of a hundred and ten.
Responsorial Psalm: 15
R/. You are my inheritance, o Lord.
Keep me, o God, for in you I take refuge; I say to the Lord, «My Lord are you». O Lord, my allotted portion and my cup, you it is who hold fast my lot.

I bless the Lord who counsels me; even in the night my heart exhorts me. I set the Lord ever before me; with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.

You will show me the path to life, fullness of joys in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever.
Verscicle before the Gospel (Cf. Mt 11:25): Alleluia. Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom. Alleluia.

Gospel text (Mt 19,13-15): Little children were brought to Jesus that He might lay his hands on them with a prayer. But the disciples scolded those who brought them. Jesus then said, «Let them be! Do not stop the children from coming to me, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to people such as these». So Jesus laid his hands on them and went his way.

«Little children were brought to Jesus that He might lay his hands on them with a prayer»

Fr. Antoni CAROL i Hostench
(Sant Cugat del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, we are given to contemplate a scene that, unfortunately, is a very real one now-a-days: «Little children were brought to Jesus that He might lay his hands on them with a prayer. But the disciples scolded those who brought them» (Mt 19:13). Children are especially loved by Jesus; but we, with our typical and characteristic reasoning of “adult people”, do not let them get close to Jesus and to the Father: —When they grow up, if they wish, they will choose...! What a great mistake!

The poor ones, that is, those needy, those who have nothing, are the object of a special predilection by the Lord. And children, infants, are indeed very “poor”. They are poor in age; they are poor in formation... They are defenseless. This is why, the Church —our “Mother”— has decided that parents should bring their children as soon as possible to the baptism, so that the Saint Spirit may inhabit in their souls and they may join the warmth of the community of believers. This is how it is stated by the Catechism of the Catholic Church as well as by the Code of Canon Law, legislators of a maximum rank of the Church (which, as any other community, must have its own legislation).

But no! when they are grown up! This way to proceed is a piece of nonsense. Otherwise, we can ask ourselves: —What will this child eat? What his mother will give him without specifying what he would prefer. —Or, what language will the child speak? The same as his parents (in other words, the child will never be able to choose any other language). —Which school will this child attend to? Wherever his parents will decide to take him, without waiting for him to define which studies will he prefer...

—What did Jesus eat? What his Mother, Mary, gave him. —What language did Jesus speak? His parents'. —What religion did Jesus Infant learn and practice? That of his parents, Judaism. Afterwards, as an adult, thanks to the formation his parents had given him, He founded a new religion... But, first, that of his parents, naturally.