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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Saturday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Eccl 11:9—12:8): Rejoice, o young man, while you are young and let your heart be glad in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart, the vision of your eyes; yet understand that as regards all this God will bring you to judgment. Ward off grief from your heart and put away trouble from your presence, though the dawn of youth is fleeting. Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years approach of which you will say, I have no pleasure in them; before the sun is darkened, and the light, and the moon, and the stars, while the clouds return after the rain.

When the guardians of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the grinders are idle because they are few, and they who look through the windows grow blind; when the doors to the street are shut, and the sound of the mill is low; when one waits for the chirp of a bird, but all the daughters of song are suppressed; and one fears heights, and perils in the street; when the almond tree blooms, and the locust grows sluggish and the caper berry is without effect, because man goes to his lasting home, and mourners go about the streets.

Before the silver cord is snapped and the golden bowl is broken, and the pitcher is shattered at the spring, and the broken pulley falls into the well, and the dust returns to the earth as it once was, and the life breath returns to God who gave it. Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth, all things are vanity!
Responsorial Psalm: 89
R/. In every age, o Lord, you have been our refuge.
You turn man back to dust, saying, “Return, o children of men”. For a thousand years in your sight are as yesterday, now that it is past, or as a watch of the night.

You make an end of them in their sleep; the next morning they are like the changing grass, which at dawn springs up anew, but by evening wilts and fades.

Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart. Return, o Lord! How long? Have pity on your servants!

Fill us at daybreak with your kindness, that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days. And may the gracious care of the Lord our God be ours; prosper the work of our hands for us! Prosper the work of our hands!
Versicle before the Gospel (2Tim 1:10): Alleluia. Our Savior Christ Jesus destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Lk 9:43b-45): While they were all amazed at his every deed, Jesus said to his disciples, “Pay attention to what I am telling you. The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.” But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was hidden from them so that they should not understand it, and they were afraid to ask him about this saying.

“The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.”

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

Today, that the Creator of all Life announces His own delivery into the hands of those whom He has come to save in exchange for His own life, is quite a provocation. It can be said that it was not necessary, that it was an exaggeration. But we keep forgetting the heavy load overwhelming Christ's heart, our sin, the most radical evil, cause and effect of our placing ourselves in the place of God. Even more so, of our not letting God love us, while insisting on remaining within the limits of our own shortcomings and most immediate present life. It is as necessary for us to assume we are sinners as it is for us to recognize that God loves us in the person of His Son Jesus Christ. For, after all, we are like His disciples, “But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was hidden from them so that they should not understand it, and they were afraid to ask him about this saying” (Lk 9:45).

To put it in images: in Heaven we shall find all sins and all vices, except arrogance, as those who are arrogant never admit their own sins and do not let God forgive them, a God that loves us so much to the point of dying for us. And, in Hell, we shall be able to find all virtues, except humility, as the humble one knows himself quite well and fully realizes that without God's grace, he cannot stop offending Him nor can he reciprocate God's Goodness.

One of the keys of Christian wisdom is the acknowledgment of the greatness and immensity of God's Love, while we also acknowledge our smallness and the vileness of our sin. How slow we can be to grasp it! When the day will come we shall discover we have at our disposal God's Love, and we shall say along with St. Augustine, with tears of Love: “It took me so long to love you, O God!” And that day can be today. It can be today. It certainly can.

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • "Do not be afraid. This cross inflicts a mortal injury, not on me, but on death. These nails no longer pain me, but only deepen your love for me." (St. Peter Chrysologus)

  • "This faithfulness of his means that he acts not only as God toward men, but also as man toward God, in this way establishing the Covenant irrevocably." (Benedict XVI)

  • "From the beginning of his public life, at his baptism, Jesus is the "Servant", wholly consecrated to the redemptive work that he will accomplish by the "baptism" of his Passion." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, nº 565)