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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Tuesday 23rd in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (1Cor 6:1-11): Brothers and sisters: How can any one of you with a case against another dare to bring it to the unjust for judgment instead of to the holy ones? Do you not know that the holy ones will judge the world? If the world is to be judged by you, are you unqualified for the lowest law courts? Do you not know that we will judge angels? Then why not everyday matters? If, therefore, you have courts for everyday matters, do you seat as judges people of no standing in the Church? I say this to shame you. Can it be that there is not one among you wise enough to be able to settle a case between brothers? But rather brother goes to court against brother, and that before unbelievers?

Now indeed then it is, in any case, a failure on your part that you have lawsuits against one another. Why not rather put up with injustice? Why not rather let yourselves be cheated? Instead, you inflict injustice and cheat, and this to brothers. Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor sodomites nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the Kingdom of God. That is what some of you used to be; but now you have had yourselves washed, you were sanctified; you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
Responsorial Psalm: 149
R/. The Lord takes delight in his people.
Sing to the Lord a new song of praise in the assembly of the faithful. Let Israel be glad in their maker, let the children of Zion rejoice in their king.

Let them praise his name in the festive dance, let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp. For the Lord loves his people, and he adorns the lowly with victory.

Let the faithful exult in glory; let them sing for joy upon their couches; let the high praises of God be in their throats. This is the glory of all his faithful.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 15:16): Alleluia. I chose you from the world, that you may go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Lk 6,12-19): Jesus went out into the hills to pray, spending the whole night in prayer with God. When day came, He called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them whom He called apostles: Simon, whom He named Peter, and his brother Andrew, James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas; James son of Alpheus and Simon called the Zealot; Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who would be the traitor.

Coming down the hill with them, Jesus stood on a level place. Many of his disciples were there and a large crowd of people who had come from all parts of Judea and Jerusalem and from the coastal cities of Tyre and Sidon. They gathered to hear him and be healed of their diseases; likewise people troubled by evil spirits were healed. The entire crowd tried to touch him because of the power that went out from him and healed them all.

«Jesus went out into the hills to pray, spending the whole night in prayer with God»

Fr. Lluc TORCAL Monk of Santa Maria de Poblet (Santa Maria de Poblet, Tarragona, Spain)

Today, I would like to center our thoughts on the first words of this Gospel: «In those days, Jesus went out into the hills to pray, spending the whole night in prayer with God» (Lk 6:12). Introductions as this one may go unnoticed in our daily reading of the Gospel, while —in fact— they are of the maximum importance. Today, Jesus, specifically and clearly tells us that the election of the twelve apostles —central decision for our Church's future life— was preceded by a full night in prayer alone, before God, his Father.

How was the Lord's prayer? What we can deduce from his life, it must have been a prayer full of confidence in the Father, of complete surrendering to his will —«for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me» (Jn 5:30)—, of clear union to God's work of salvation. Only through this profound, long and constant prayer —supported always by the action of the Holy Spirit that, at the moment of Jesus' Incarnation, had already fallen over him in his Baptism— could the Lord receive the necessary strength and light to go on with his mission of abiding by the Father to accomplish his work of salvation for mankind. The subsequent election of the Apostles —that as St. Cyril of Alexandria says, «the same Christ affirms having given them the same mission He received from the Father»—, shows us how the rising Church was the fruit of Jesus' prayer to the Father in the Holy Spirit and, therefore, the work of the Holy Trinity. «When day came, He called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them whom He called apostles» (Lk 6:13).

If only all our life as Christians —of disciples of God— could always be immersed in prayer and led by it.

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