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A team of 200 priests comment on daily Gospel

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Liturgical day: Sacred Heart of Jesus (B)

1st Reading (Hos 11:1b.3-4.8c-9): Thus says the Lord: When Israel was a child I loved him, out of Egypt I called my son. Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, who took them in my arms; I drew them with human cords, with bands of love; I fostered them like one who raises an infant to his cheeks; yet, though I stooped to feed my child, they did not know that I was their healer. My heart is overwhelmed, my pity is stirred. I will not give vent to my blazing anger, I will not destroy Ephraim again; for I am God and not a man, the Holy One present among you; I will not let the flames consume you.
Responsorial Psalm: Is 12
R/. You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
God indeed is my savior; I am confident and unafraid. My strength and my courage is the Lord, and he has been my savior. With joy you will draw water at the fountain of salvation.

Give thanks to the Lord, acclaim his name; among the nations make known his deeds, proclaim how exalted is his name.

Sing praise to the Lord for his glorious achievement; let this be known throughout all the earth. Shout with exultation, o city of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel!
2nd Reading (Eph 3:8-12.14-19): Brothers and sisters: To me, the very least of all the holy ones, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the inscrutable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for all what is the plan of the mystery hidden from ages past in God who created all things, so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the principalities and authorities in the heavens. This was according to the eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness of speech and confidence of access through faith in him.

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Versicle before the Gospel (Mt 11:29): Alleluia. Take my yoke upon you, says the Lord; and learn from me, for I am meek and gentle of heart. Alleluia.

Gospel text (Jn 19,31-37): As it was Preparation Day, the Jews did not want the bodies to remain on the cross during the Sabbath, for this Sabbath was a very solemn day. They asked Pilate to have the legs of the condemned men broken, so they might take away the bodies. The soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man and of the other who had been crucified with Jesus.

When they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead; so they did not break his legs. One of the soldiers, however, pierced his side with a lance and immediately there came out blood and water. The one who has seen here gives his witness so that you may believe: his witness is true and He knows that he speaks the truth. All this happened to fulfill the words of Scripture, ‘Not one of his bones shall be broken’. Another text says: ‘They shall look on him whom they have pierced’.

«One of the soldiers, however, pierced his side with a lance»

Fr. Raimondo M. SORGIA Mannai OP
(San Domenico di Fiesole, Florencia, Italy)

Today, before our very eyes —or better still before our interior eyes, illuminated by faith— is the figure of Christ who, having just died on the Cross, has had his side pierced by the Centurion's sword. «Immediately there came out blood and water» (Jn 19,34). What a distressing but at the same time eloquent sight! There is not even the slightest room for doubt: Jesus is 100% dead. What's more that mysterious “water” which would not have flowed out of a normal healthy body, would indicate, according to modern medicine, that Christ would have died of a heart attack or what could even have been described as a burst heart. It is only in these cases that there occurs a separation of the serum and the red blood cells. This would explain the anomalous “blood and water”.

Christ, therefore has truly died, and He has died because of our sins, for what He desired with most urgency, the cancellation of our sins. «With my death, I have defeated death and have exalted Man to the sublimity of Heaven» (Meliton of Sardis). God, who has kept to his promise of raising his Son from the dead, will also keep to his second promise: He will also raise us from the dead and will seat us at His right hand. He requires of us a minimum condition: to believe in Him and to allow ourselves be saved by Him. God never imposes himself on anybody. He fully respects human liberty.

Of that Man who's heart they stabbed «They will look upon the man whom they have pierced» the Apocalypse, too, confirms this: «Behold, he cometh with the clouds, and every eye shall see him: and they also that pierced him» (Rev 1,7). This is a sacred requirement of divine justice: in the end even those who have obstinately rejected it will have recognise the truth. Even the self-idolising tyrant, the ruthless killer, the proud atheist... all of them without exception will feel obliged to kneel down before Him, acknowledging him as the one and only true God. Isn't it more worthwhile to become friends with Him as of now.