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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Tuesday 14th in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Hos 8:4-7.11.13): Thus says the Lord: They made kings in Israel, but not by my authority; they established princes, but without my approval. With their silver and gold they made idols for themselves, to their own destruction. Cast away your calf, o Samaria! My wrath is kindled against them. How long will they be unable to attain innocence in Israel? The work of an artisan, no god at all, destined for the flames, such is the calf of Samaria! When they sow the wind, they shall reap the whirlwind; the stalk of grain that forms no ear can yield no flour; even if it could, strangers would swallow it. When Ephraim made many altars to expiate sin, his altars became occasions of sin. Though I write for him my many ordinances, they are considered as a stranger’s. Though they offer sacrifice, immolate flesh and eat it, the Lord is not pleased with them. He shall still remember their guilt and punish their sins; they shall return to Egypt.
Responsorial Psalm: 113
R/. The house of Israel trusts in the Lord.
Our God is in heaven; whatever he wills, he does. Their idols are silver and gold, the handiwork of men.

They have mouths but speak not; they have eyes but see not; they have ears but hear not; they have noses but smell not.

They have hands but feel not; they have feet but walk not. Their makers shall be like them, everyone that trusts in them.

Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 10:14): Alleluia. I am the good shepherd, says the Lord; I know my sheep, and mine know me. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mt 9,32-38): Some people brought to Jesus a man who was dumb because he was possessed by a demon. When the demon was driven out, the dumb man began to speak. The crowds were astonished and said, «Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel». (But the Pharisees said, «He drives away demons with the help of the prince of demons»).

Jesus went around all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom, and He cured every sickness and disease. When He saw the crowds he was moved with pity, for they were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to his disciples, «The harvest is abundant but the workers are only few. Ask the master of the harvest to send workers to gather his harvest».

«Ask the master of the harvest to send workers to gather his harvest»

Fr. Joan SOLÀ i Triadú (Girona, Spain)

Today, the Gospel speaks of the man who was dumb because he was possessed, and of how his healing provoked different reactions between the crowd and the Pharisees who, in the face of prodigious evidence, nobody could deny, they attributed it to devilish powers «He drives away demons with the help of the prince of demons» (Mt 9:34). Instead, the crowd marvels: «Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel» (Mt 9:33). When referring to this passage St. John Chrysostom, says: «What the Pharisees truly resented was the crowds were considering Jesus superior, not only to those existing then, but to all that had ever existed».

However, the Pharisees' animadversion did not worry Jesus in the least; He faithfully went on with his mission. Not only, but before the evidence those Israel guides, instead of looking after their flock and shepherd it, what they did was to mislay it, Jesus felt sorry for those tired and depressed crowds without a true shepherd to look after them. That crowds are grateful for a good leadership and yearn for it, can be appreciated when we looked at the pastoral visits of St. John Paul II to the different places in the world. How he manages to gather immense crowds around him! How they listen to him, particularly our youth! And this, despite the Pope does not make discounts, for he preaches the Gospel with all its requirements.

St. Josemaria Escriva says: «If we should be consequent with our faith, when we look around us and contemplate the scenery of history and our world, we could not but feel that, the same feelings that animated Jesus' heart, are also invading ours», which would take us to a very generous apostolic task. But the disproportion amongst the crowds waiting for the preaching of the Good News of the Kingdom of God and the scarcity of ready workers to preach it, is quite evident. At the end of the text of the Gospel, though, Jesus gives us the solution: to ask the master of the harvest to send workers to his fields (cf. Mt 9:38).

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