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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Saturday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Ezek 18:1-10.13.30-32): The word of the Lord came to me: Son of man, what is the meaning of this proverb that you recite in the land of Israel: ‘Fathers have eaten green grapes, thus their children's teeth are on edge’? As I live, says the Lord God: I swear that there shall no longer be anyone among you who will repeat this proverb in Israel. For all lives are mine; the life of the father is like the life of the son, both are mine; only the one who sins shall die.

»If a man is virtuous —if he does what is right and just, if he does not eat on the mountains, nor raise his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel; if he does not defile his neighbor's wife, nor have relations with a woman in her menstrual period; if he oppresses no one, gives back the pledge received for a debt, commits no robbery; if he gives food to the hungry and clothes the naked; if he does not lend at interest nor exact usury; if he holds off from evildoing, judges fairly between a man and his opponent; if he lives by my statutes and is careful to observe my ordinances, that man is virtuous— he shall surely live, says the Lord God.

»But if he begets a son who is a thief, a murderer, or lends at interest and exacts usury, this son certainly shall not live. Because he practiced all these abominations, he shall surely die; his death shall be his own fault. Therefore I will judge you, house of Israel, each one according to his ways, says the Lord God. Turn and be converted from all your crimes, that they may be no cause of guilt for you. Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed, and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. Why should you die, o house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies, says the Lord God. Return and live!
Responsorial Psalm: 50
R/. Create a clean heart in me, o God.
A clean heart create for me, o God; and a steadfast spirit renew within me. Cast me not out from your presence, and your Holy Spirit take not from me.

Give me back the joy of your salvation, and a willing spirit sustain in me. I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners shall return to you.

For you are not pleased with sacrifices; should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it. My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
Versicle 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): Children were brought to Jesus that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked them, but Jesus said, "Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." After he placed his hands on them, he went away.

“Children were brought to Jesus that he might lay his hands on them and pray.”

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

Today, we are presented a scene to contemplate that is unfortunately, a very real one now-a-days: “Children were brought to Jesus that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked 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 huge 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 Holy Spirit may inhabit 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 in 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 the Infant Jesus 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.

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • "The great saints worked for the glory of God, but I'm only a little soul; I work simply for His pleasure” (Saint Therese of Lisieux)

  • "We must learn to see with a child's heart, with a youthful heart not hampered by prejudices or blinded by interests" (Benedict XVI)

  • "By living with the mind of Christ, Christians hasten the coming of the Reign of God, "a kingdom of justice, love, and peace." They do not, for all that, abandon their earthly tasks; faithful to their master, they fulfill them with uprightness, patience, and love.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, nº 2.046)