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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Tuesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (2Cor 8:1-9): We want you to know, brothers and sisters, of the grace of God that has been given to the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, the abundance of their joy and their profound poverty overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For according to their means, I can testify, and beyond their means, spontaneously, they begged us insistently for the favor of taking part in the service to the holy ones, and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and to us through the will of God.

So that we urged Titus that, as he had already begun, he should also complete for you this gracious act also. Now as you excel in every respect, in faith, discourse, knowledge, all earnestness, and in the love we have for you, may you excel in this gracious act also. I say this not by way of command, but to test the genuineness of your love by your concern for others. For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that for your sake he became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich.
Responsorial Psalm: 145
R/. Praise the Lord, my soul!
Praise the Lord, my soul! I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God while I live.

Blessed he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord, his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them.

Who keeps faith forever, secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets captives free.

The Lord gives sight to the blind. The Lord rises up those who were bowed down; the Lord loves the just. The Lord protects strangers.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 13:34): Alleluia. I give you a new commandment: love one another as I have loved you. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mt 5,43-48): Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

«Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect»

Fr. Iñaki BALLBÉ i Turu (Terrassa, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, Christ invites us to love. To love without measure, which is the measure of true Love. God is Love, “for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust” (Mt 5:45). And man, God's spark, has to keep on struggling every day to resemble him, so “that you may be children of your heavenly Father”. Where can we find Christ's face? On others, on our nearest fellow men. It is easy to feel sorry for the starving children in the poorest countries when we watch them on TV, or for all those refugees fleeing from their countries at war. But, what about those at home? What about our co-workers? And what about that distant relative living alone and whom we could pay a visit to, to keep him company? How do we treat others? How do we love them? What specific deeds of service have we towards them, every day?

It is certainly very easy to love those who love you. But our Lord is urging us to go a step further, “if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?” (Mt 5:46). To love our enemies! To love those we know —for sure— will never return our affection, or our smiles, or that favor. Simply because they ignore us. A Christian, all Christians, should not love in a “self-interested” way; it is not enough to give a piece of bread or our alms to a homeless person on the street. We have to give ourselves to the others. When dying on the Cross, Christ forgave those who crucified him. No reproach, no complaint, not even an angry face...

Love without expecting anything in return. When it comes to loving we don’t calculate. Perfection is to love with no measure. And we hold perfection in our hands amidst the world, in our daily chores. By doing what we should in every instance, not what we would like to do. God's Mother, at the wedding of Cana in Galilee, realizes the guests have no more wine and asks the Lord to do the miracle. Let us beg Him today the miracle of finding out the needs of our own neighbors.