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Liturgical day: Thursday 12th in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Gen 16:1-12.15-16): Abram's wife Sarai had borne him no children. She had, however, an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar. Sarai said to Abram: «The Lord has kept me from bearing children. Have intercourse, then, with my maid; perhaps I shall have sons through her». Abram heeded Sarai's request. Thus, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, his wife Sarai took her maid, Hagar the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his concubine. He had intercourse with her, and she became pregnant. When she became aware of her pregnancy, she looked on her mistress with disdain. So Sarai said to Abram: «You are responsible for this outrage against me. I myself gave my maid to your embrace; but ever since she became aware of her pregnancy, she has been looking on me with disdain. May the Lord decide between you and me!». Abram told Sarai: «Your maid is in your power. Do to her whatever you please».

Sarai then abused her so much that Hagar ran away from her. The Lord's messenger found her by a spring in the wilderness, the spring on the road to Shur, and he asked, «Hagar, maid of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?». She answered, «I am running away from my mistress, Sarai». But the Lord's messenger told her: «Go back to your mistress and submit to her abusive treatment. I will make your descendants so numerous», added the Lord's messenger, «that they will be too many to count». Besides, the Lord's messenger said to her: «You are now pregnant and shall bear a son; you shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard you, God has answered you. This one shall be a wild ass of a man, his hand against everyone, and everyone's hand against him; in opposition to all his kin shall he encamp». Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram named the son whom Hagar bore him Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.
Responsorial Psalm: 105
R/. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endures forever. Who can tell the mighty deeds of the Lord, or proclaim all his praises?

Blessed are they who observe what is right, who do always what is just. Remember us, o Lord, as you favor your people.

Visit me with your saving help, that I may see the prosperity of your chosen ones, rejoice in the joy of your people, and glory with your inheritance.
Verscicle 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.