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A team of 200 priests comment on daily Gospel

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Liturgical day: Tuesday 19th in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Ezek 2:8—3:4): The Lord God said to me: As for you, son of man, obey me when I speak to you: be not rebellious like this house of rebellion, but open your mouth and eat what I shall give you. It was then I saw a hand stretched out to me, in which was a written scroll which he unrolled before me. It was covered with writing front and back, and written on it was: Lamentation and wailing and woe! He said to me: Son of man, eat what is before you; eat this scroll, then go, speak to the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth and he gave me the scroll to eat. Son of man, he then said to me, feed your belly and fill your stomach with this scroll I am giving you. I ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. He said: Son of man, go now to the house of Israel, and speak my words to them.
Responsorial Psalm: 118
R/. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
In the way of your decrees I rejoice, as much as in all riches.

Yes, your decrees are my delight; they are my counselors.

The law of your mouth is to me more precious than thousands of gold and silver pieces.

How sweet to my palate are your promises, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

Your decrees are my inheritance forever; the joy of my heart they are.

I gasp with open mouth, in my yearning for your commands.

Versicle before the Gospel (Mt 11:29): Alleluia. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart. Alleluia.

Gospel text (Mt 18,1-5.10.12-14): At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked him, «Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?». Then Jesus called a little child, set the child in the midst of the disciples, and said, «I assure you that unless you change and become like little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes lowly like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, and whoever receives such a child in my name receives me. See that you do not despise any of these little ones, for I tell you: their angels in heaven continually see the face of my heavenly Father. What do you think of this? If someone has a hundred sheep and one of them strays, won’t he leave the ninety-nine on the hillside, and go to look for the stray one? And I tell you: when he finally finds it, he is more pleased about it than about the ninety-nine that did not get lost. It is the same with your Father in heaven: there they don't want even one of these little ones to be lost».

«It is the same with your Father in heaven: there they don't want even one of these little ones to be lost»

Fr. Valentí ALONSO i Roig
(Barcelona, Spain)

Today, once more, the Gospel reveals to us God's heart. It gives us to understand the feelings the Father in Heaven reacts with, in relation to his children. His most impassionate concern is for the small ones, those, which nobody ever pays any attention to, those who do not attain wherever the rest of the world does. We already knew that the Father, as the good Father He is, has a preference for the small children, but to day we can recognize another wish of the Father that becomes compulsory for us: «I assure you that unless you change and become like little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven» (Mt 18:3).

We, therefore, realize that what the Father values the most is not so much "being small", as "becoming lowly". «Whoever becomes lowly (...) is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven» (Mt 18:4). This is why we can see our responsibility in this action of becoming lowly. It is not a matter of having been created small or simple, limited or more or less capable, but of being able to keep off any eventual greatness while remaining to the level of the humbler and simpler. The actual importance of each one consists in resembling one of those small ones Jesus introduces us to.

Last but not least, the Gospel teaches us today another lesson. There are, and closer to us than we think! some "small ones" that we may eventually have more forsaken than others: those that are like sheep gone astray; the Father looks for them and, when He finds them, He is more pleased because they come back home and do not go stray any more. Perhaps, if we should try to look at those surrounding us more as sheep sought and found by the Father than just sheep gone astray, we could also see more often and closer God's face. St. Asterius of Amasea tells us: «The parable of the lost sheep and the shepherd teaches us that we must not easily despair of those who are in danger or be slow to help them» .