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A team of 200 priests comment on daily Gospel

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Liturgical day: Wednesday 13th in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Amos 5:14-15.21-24): Seek good and not evil, that you may live; then truly will the Lord, the God of hosts, be with you as you claim! Hate evil and love good, and let justice prevail at the gate; then it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will have pity on the remnant of Joseph. I hate, I spurn your feasts, says the Lord, I take no pleasure in your solemnities; your cereal offerings I will not accept, nor consider your stall-fed peace offerings. Away with your noisy songs! I will not listen to the melodies of your harps. But if you would offer me burnt offerings, then let justice surge like water, and goodness like an unfailing stream.
Responsorial Psalm: 49
R/. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
«Hear, my people, and I will speak; Israel, I will testify against you; God, your God, am I».

«Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you, for your burnt offerings are before me always. I take from your house no bullock, no goats out of your fold».

«For mine are all the animals of the forests, beasts by the thousand on my mountains. I know all the birds of the air, and whatever stirs in the plains, belongs to me».

«If I were hungry, I should not tell you, for mine are the world and its fullness. Do I eat the flesh of strong bulls, or is the blood of goats my drink?».

«Why do you recite my statutes, and profess my covenant with your mouth, though you hate discipline and cast my words behind you?».
Versicle before the Gospel (Sant 1:18): Alleluia. The Father willed to give us birth by the word of truth that we may be a kind of first fruits of his creatures. Alleluia.

Gospel text (Mt 8,28-34): When Jesus reached Gadara on the other side, He was met by two demoniacs who came out from the tombs. They were so fierce that no one dared to pass that way. Suddenly they shouted, «What do you want with us, you, Son of God? Have you come to torture us before the time?». At some distance away there was a large herd of pigs feeding. So the demons begged him, «If you drive us out, send us into that herd of pigs». Jesus ordered them, «Go». So they left and went into the pigs. The whole herd rushed down the cliff into the lake and drowned. The men in charge of them ran off to the town, where they told the whole story, also what had happened to the men possessed with the demons. Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their area.

«They begged him to leave their area»

Fr. Antoni CAROL i Hostench
(Sant Cugat del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, we are given to contemplate a sad contrast. “Contrast” because we admire the power and divine majesty of Jesus Christ, whom the demons submit voluntarily to (a signal that the Kingdom of the Heavens has reached us). But, at the same time, we deplore the narrowness and stinginess which the human heart is capable of, when refusing the bearer of Good News: «The whole town went out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their area» (Mt 8:34). And “sad” because «He himself, who is the true light (...) came to his own, and his own did not receive him» (Jn 1:9-11).

More contrast and more confusion when we pay attention to the fact that man is free and this freedom has the “power to halt” God's infinite power. Or we can put it another way: the infinite divine powers reach as far as our “powerful” freedom allows it. And this is so because God mainly loves us with a Father's love. As a Father, we should not be surprised that He is so respectful of our freedom: He does not impose his love upon us, He just proposes it to us.

God, with infinite wisdom and goodness, providentially rules the Universe while respecting our freedom; even when this freedom turns its back on him and does not want to accept his will. Contrary to what it may seem, He does not let the world out of his hands: God always brings everything to a good conclusion, despite all hindrances we can raise against him. In fact, these hindrances are, first of all, turning against us.

However, we can affirm, «in the face of human freedom God has wanted to become “impotent”. And it can be said God pays for the great gift [our freedom] given to a being created in his image and likeness [man]» (John Paul II). God pays!: if we throw him out, He obeys and goes away. He pays, but we lose. On the other hand, we do well when we respond like the Virgin Mary: «I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said» (Lk 1:38).