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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Tuesday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading (Hos 8:4-7.11.13): Thus says the Lord: They made kings in Israel, but not by my authority; they established princes, but without my approval. With their silver and gold they made idols for themselves, to their own destruction. Cast away your calf, o Samaria! My wrath is kindled against them. How long will they be unable to attain innocence in Israel? The work of an artisan, no god at all, destined for the flames, such is the calf of Samaria! When they sow the wind, they shall reap the whirlwind; the stalk of grain that forms no ear can yield no flour; even if it could, strangers would swallow it. When Ephraim made many altars to expiate sin, his altars became occasions of sin. Though I write for him my many ordinances, they are considered as a stranger’s. Though they offer sacrifice, immolate flesh and eat it, the Lord is not pleased with them. He shall still remember their guilt and punish their sins; they shall return to Egypt.
Responsorial Psalm: 113
R/. The house of Israel trusts in the Lord.
Our God is in heaven; whatever he wills, he does. Their idols are silver and gold, the handiwork of men.

They have mouths but speak not; they have eyes but see not; they have ears but hear not; they have noses but smell not.

They have hands but feel not; they have feet but walk not. Their makers shall be like them, everyone that trusts in them.

Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 10:14): Alleluia. I am the good shepherd, says the Lord; I know my sheep, and mine know me. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mt 9:32-38): A demoniac who could not speak was brought to Jesus, and when the demon was driven out the mute man spoke. The crowds were amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees said, “He drives out demons by the prince of demons.”

Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and illness. At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest."

“Ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest”

Fr. Joan SOLÀ i Triadú (Girona, Spain)

Today, the Gospel speaks of the man who was dumb because he was possessed, and of how his healing provoked different reactions between the crowd and the Pharisees who, in the face of prodigious evidence, nobody could deny, they attributed it to devilish powers “He drives out demons by the prince of demons” (Mt 9:34). Instead, the crowd marvels: “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel” (Mt 9:33). When referring to this passage St. John Chrysostom, says: “What the Pharisees truly resented was the crowds were considering Jesus superior, not only to those existing then, but to all that had ever existed.”

Jesus was not worried about the animosity of the Pharisees; He continued faithful to his mission. Moreover, Jesus, faced with the evidence that the guides of Israel, instead of caring for and grazing the flock, what they were doing was leading it astray, He took pity on those tired and downcast crowds, like sheep without a shepherd. Crowds are grateful for a good leadership and yearn for it. That could be appreciated when we look at the pastoral visits Saint John Paul II made to several different places in the world. He gathered immense crowds around him to listen to his words, particularly our youth!

St. Josemaria Escriva wrote: “If we were consistent with our faith when we looked around us and contemplated the world and its history, we would be unable to avoid feeling in our own hearts the same sentiments that filled the heart of our Lord”, which would take us to a very generous apostolic task. But the disproportion amongst the crowds waiting for the preaching of the Good News of the Kingdom of God and the scarcity of ready workers to preach it, is quite evident. At the end of the text of the Gospel, though, Jesus gives us the solution: to ask the master of the harvest to send workers to his fields (cf. Mt 9:38).

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “This divine heart is an abyss filled with all blessings, and into the poor should submerge all their needs. It is an abyss of lowliness to counteract our foolishness.” (Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque)

  • “In the basis of this compassionate love Jesus healed the sick who were presented to him, and with just a few loaves of bread and fish he satisfied the enormous crowd.” (Francis)

  • “Moved by so much suffering Christ not only allows himself to be touched by the sick, but he makes their miseries his own: ‘He took our infirmities and bore our diseases’ (Mt 8:17; cf. Isa 53:4).” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Nº 1505)