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Liturgical day: Thursday 12th in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (2Kgs 24:8-17): Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Nehushta, daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem. He did evil in the sight of the Lord, just as his forebears had done. At that time the officials of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, attacked Jerusalem, and the city came under siege. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, himself arrived at the city while his servants were besieging it. Then Jehoiachin, king of Judah, together with his mother, his ministers, officers, and functionaries, surrendered to the king of Babylon, who, in the eighth year of his reign, took him captive.

And he carried off all the treasures of the temple of the Lord and those of the palace, and broke up all the gold utensils that Solomon, king of Israel, had provided in the temple of the Lord, as the Lord had foretold. He deported all Jerusalem: all the officers and men of the army, ten thousand in number, and all the craftsmen and smiths. None were left among the people of the land except the poor. He deported Jehoiachin to Babylon, and also led captive from Jerusalem to Babylon the king's mother and wives, his functionaries, and the chief men of the land. The king of Babylon also led captive to Babylon all seven thousand men of the army, and a thousand craftsmen and smiths, all of them trained soldiers. In place of Jehoiachin, the king of Babylon appointed his uncle Mattaniah king, and changed his name to Zedekiah.
Responsorial Psalm: 78
R/. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
O God, the nations have come into your inheritance; they have defiled your holy temple, they have laid Jerusalem in ruins. They have given the corpses of your servants as food to the birds of heaven, the flesh of your faithful ones to the beasts of the earth.

They have poured out their blood like water round about Jerusalem, and there is no one to bury them. We have become the reproach of our neighbors, the scorn and derision of those around us. O Lord, how long? Will you be angry forever? Will your jealousy burn like fire?

Remember not against us the iniquities of the past; may your compassion quickly come to us, for we are brought very low.

Help us, o God our savior, because of the glory of your name; deliver us and pardon our sins for your name’s sake.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 14:23): Alleluia. Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him and we will come to him. Alleluia.

Gospel text (Mt 7,21-29): Jesus said to his disciples, «Not everyone who says to me: ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my heavenly Father. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not speak in your name? Did we not cast out devils and perform many miracles in your name?’. Then I will tell them openly: ‘I have never known you; away from me, you evil people!’.

»So, then, anyone who hears these words of mine and acts accordingly is like a wise man, who built his house on rock. The rain poured, the rivers flooded, and the wind blew and struck that house, but it did not collapse because it was built on rock. But anyone who hears these words of mine and does not act accordingly, is like a fool who built his house on sand. The rain poured, the rivers flooded, and the wind blew and struck that house; it collapsed, and what a terrible fall that was!».

When Jesus had finished this discourse, the crowds were struck by the way he taught, because he taught with authority unlike their teachers of the Law.

«Not everyone who says to me: ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven»

Fr. Joan Pere PULIDO i Gutiérrez
(Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Spain)

Today, Jesus' categorical claim strikes us: «Not everyone who says to me: ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my heavenly Father» (Mt 7:21). If nothing else, these words demand, in our condition as Christians, our responsibility while letting us feel the urge to bear witness to our faith.

Building the house on rock is a clear image that invites us to value our commitment to our faith, which cannot be limited to just a few nice words, but must be based on the authority of our achievements, impregnated with charity. In June, the Church remembers young St. Pelayo's life who, rather than giving up his faith, preferred to be executed by the moors in a most tortuous manner. St. Bernard, while recalling St. Pelayo's life, tells us in his treatise on customs and duties of bishops: «No matter how beautiful it may be, chastity is of no value and merit without charity. Purity without love is like an oil-candle with no oil; but wisdom claims: how beautiful wisdom is with love! With that love the Apostle explains to us: emanating from a pure heart, a straight conscience and a sincere faith».

With the strength of charity, Jesus expresses his authority with the clear word that dumbfounds people: «The crowds were struck by the way he taught, because he taught with authority unlike their teachers of the Law» (Mt 7:28-29). Today's contemplation and our prayer, must be followed by a serious consideration: how do I speak and behave like a Christian in my life?; how do I define my testimony?; how do I undertake the commandment of love in my life, whether personal, family, professional, etc.? Words and prayers without any commitment do not count, but only our desire to live in accordance with God's Project. Our prayer should always be an expression of our craving for doing good deeds along with a request for help, because we recognize our own failings.

Let our prayer, O Lord, to be always joined by the strength of charity.