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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Wednesday 10th in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (1Kgs 18:20-39): Ahab sent to all the children of Israel and had the prophets assemble on Mount Carmel. Elijah appealed to all the people and said, «How long will you straddle the issue? If the Lord is God, follow him; if Baal, follow him». The people, however, did not answer him. So Elijah said to the people, «I am the only surviving prophet of the Lord, and there are four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal. Give us two young bulls. Let them choose one, cut it into pieces, and place it on the wood, but start no fire. I shall prepare the other and place it on the wood, but shall start no fire. You shall call on your gods, and I will call on the Lord. The God who answers with fire is God». All the people answered, «Agreed!».

Elijah then said to the prophets of Baal, «Choose one young bull and prepare it first, for there are more of you. Call upon your gods, but do not start the fire». Taking the young bull that was turned over to them, they prepared it and called on Baal from morning to noon, saying, «Answer us, Baal!». But there was no sound, and no one answering. And they hopped around the altar they had prepared. When it was noon, Elijah taunted them: «Call louder, for he is a god and may be meditating, or may have retired, or may be on a journey. Perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened». They called out louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until blood gushed over them. Noon passed and they remained in a prophetic state until the time for offering sacrifice. But there was not a sound; no one answered, and no one was listening.

Then Elijah said to all the people, «Come here to me». When the people had done so, he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been destroyed. He took twelve stones, for the number of tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the Lord had said, «Your name shall be Israel». He built an altar in honor of the Lord with the stones, and made a trench around the altar large enough for two measures of grain. When he had arranged the wood, he cut up the young bull and laid it on the wood. «Fill four jars with water», he said, «and pour it over the burnt offering and over the wood». «Do it again», he said, and they did it again. «Do it a third time», he said, and they did it a third time. The water flowed around the altar, and the trench was filled with the water.
Responsorial Psalm: 15
R/. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge; I say to the Lord, «My Lord are you».

They multiply their sorrows who court other gods. Blood libations to them I will not pour out, nor will I take their names upon my lips.

O Lord, my allotted portion and cup, you it is who hold fast my lot. 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.
Versicle before the Gospel (Ps 24:4-5): Alleluia. Teach me your paths, my God, and guide me in your truth. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mt 5,17-19): Jesus said to his disciples, «Do not think that I have come to remove the Law and the Prophets. I have not come to remove but to fulfill them. I tell you this: as long as heaven and earth last, not the smallest letter or stroke of the Law will change until all is fulfilled. So then, whoever breaks the least important of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be the least in the kingdom of heaven. On the other hand, whoever obeys them and teaches others to do the same will be great in the kingdom of heaven».

«I have not come to remove but to fulfill them»

Fr. Miquel MASATS i Roca (Girona, Spain)

Today, we listen to the Lord saying: «Do not think that I have come to remove the Law and the Prophets (…) but to fulfill them» (Mt 5:17). In today's Gospel, Jesus teaches us that the Old Testament is part of the Divine Revelation: First, God made himself known to men through the prophets. The chosen People gathered on Saturdays in the synagogue to listen to God's Word. And just as a good Jew knew the Scriptures and put them into practice, we Christians should frequently meditate —if possible, every day— upon the Scriptures.

In Jesus we have the plenitude of Revelation. He is the Verb, God's Word, that has become flesh, and dwelt among us (cf. Jn 1:14) to let us know He is God and how He loves us. God wants of man a response of love, expressed upon the fulfillment of his teachings: «If you love me, keep my commandments» (Jn 14:15).

We can find a good explanation of today's Gospel in St. John's first letter: «For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome» (1Jn 5:3). To keep God's commandments means that we truly love him through our deeds. Love is not only a feeling; love also wants deeds, deeds of love, to live the double precept of charity.

Jesus teaches us the malice of scandal: «Whoever breaks the least important of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be the least in the kingdom of heaven» (Mt 5:19). Because —as St. John says— «the man who says, ‘I know him’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him» (1Jn 2,4).

At the same time, He shows us how important good example is: «On the other hand, whoever obeys them and teaches others to do the same will be great in the Kingdom of Heaven» (Mt 5:19). Good example is the first element of the Christian Apostolate.

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