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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Thursday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (2Cor 11:1-11): Brothers and sisters: If only you would put up with a little foolishness from me! Please put up with me. For I am jealous of you with the jealousy of God, since I betrothed you to one husband to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts may be corrupted from a sincere and pure commitment to Christ. For if someone comes and preaches another Jesus than the one we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it well enough.

For I think that I am not in any way inferior to these “superapostles”. Even if I am untrained in speaking, I am not so in knowledge; in every way we have made this plain to you in all things. Did I make a mistake when I humbled myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached the Gospel of God to you without charge? I plundered other churches by accepting from them in order to minister to you. And when I was with you and in need, I did not burden anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied my needs. So I refrained and will refrain from burdening you in any way. By the truth of Christ in me, this boast of mine shall not be silenced in the regions of Achaia. And why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do!
Responsorial Psalm: 110
R/. Your works, o Lord, are justice and truth.
I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart in the company and assembly of the just. Great are the works of the Lord, exquisite in all their delights.

Majesty and glory are his work, and his justice endures forever. He has won renown for his wondrous deeds; gracious and merciful is the Lord.

The works of his hands are faithful and just; sure are all his precepts, reliable forever and ever, wrought in truth and equity.
Versicle before the Gospel (Rom 8:15): Alleluia. You have received a spirit of adoption as sons through which we cry: Abba! Father! Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mt 6,7-15): Jesus said to his disciples, «When you pray, do not use a lot of words, as the pagans do, for they hold that the more they say, the more chance they have of being heard. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need, even before you ask him.

»This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, holy be your name, your kingdom come and your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts just as we have forgiven those who are in debt to us. Do not bring us to the test but deliver us from the evil one’. If you forgive others their wrongs, your Father in heaven will also forgive yours. If you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive you either».

«Your Father knows what you need, even before you ask him»

Fr. Emili MARLÉS i Romeu (Sant Cugat del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain)

Today the Lord wants to help us grow in a main issue of our Christian life: the prayer. He warns us not to pray like pagans trying to convince God about what they want. Many times we try to achieve what we want through insistence, being "annoying" to God, believing that we will be heard with our verbosity. The Lord reminds us that the Father is constantly solicitous of our life and that he knows what we need before we ask him at all times, (cf. Mt 6,8). Do we live with this kind of confidence? Am I aware that the Father is constantly washing my feet and that he knows better than anyone what I need at all times (in big things and small things)?

Jesus opens for us a new horizon of prayer: the prayer of those who address to God with the conscience of being children. The type of relationship I have with a person is determined through the way I ask for things to that person , and also what I can expect from him. From a father, and especially from the heavenly Father, I can expect everything and I know that he takes care of my life. For this reason, Jesus, who always lives as a true son, is telling you: "not to be worried about food and drink for yourself" (Mt 6.25). Do I really have this son’s consciousness? Am I addressing God with the same familiarity as I do with my father or mother?

Later, Jesus opens his heart to us, and teaches us what his relationship / prayer with the Father is like so that we also make it ours. With the "Our Father" prayer Jesus teaches us to live as children. Saint Cyprian has a well-known comment about the “Our Father”, telling us: «We must remember and know that, when we call God “Father”, we have to act as his children, in order for him to be pleased with us, as we are pleased to have him as Father ».

«If you forgive others their wrongs, your Father in heaven will also forgive yours»

+ Fr. Joan MARQUÉS i Suriñach (Vilamarí, Girona, Spain)

Today, Jesus proposes us a great and difficult target: to forgive those who offend us. And He establishes a very reasonable measure: ours: «If you forgive others their wrongs, your Father in heaven will also forgive yours. If you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive you either» (Mt 6:14-15). In another place, He had already given us the Golden Rule of human coexistence: «In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this sums up the Law and the Prophets» (Mt 7:12).

We want God to forgive us and would like others to forgive us too; but, on the other hand, we seem quite reluctant to do it ourselves. To apologize is kind of difficult; but to forgive is even more so. Should we be humbler, it should not be so difficult; but our pride makes it much harder. This is why we could establish the following equation: the humbler, the easier; the prouder, the more difficult. This will give us a clue to find out our degree of humility.

When the Spanish Civil War was over (year 1939), some ex-captive priests were celebrating a thanksgiving mass in a small town, somewhere in Spain. The officiating priest, after saying the words of the Lord's Prayer «and forgive us our debts», he remained speechless and was unable to go on. He could not drive himself to forgive those who had made them suffer so much in a hard labor camp, in that very same town. After a few moments of a most impressive silence, he went on with the prayer: «as we forgive our debtors». Afterwards, they asked themselves which homily had been the best one. And they all agreed: the silence of the officiating priest when he was saying the Lord’s Prayer. It is difficult, but with the Lord’s help it is possible.

Furthermore, God's forgiveness is total; it gets as far as oblivion. We tend to forget pretty soon the favours we receive, but not so much so with offenses... If married couples knew how to forget them, they would avoid, and probably overcome, many family dramas.

Let us hope the Mother of mercy helps us understanding our fellow men and forgiving them totally.