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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Thursday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Jer 2:1-3.7-8.12-13): This word of the Lord came to me: Go, cry out this message for Jerusalem to hear! I remember the devotion of your youth, how you loved me as a bride, following me in the desert, in a land unsown. Sacred to the Lord was Israel, the first fruits of his harvest; should any presume to partake of them, evil would befall them, says the Lord. When I brought you into the garden land to eat its goodly fruits, you entered and defiled my land, you made my heritage loathsome. The priests asked not, «Where is the Lord?». Those who dealt with the law knew me not: the shepherds rebelled against me. The prophets prophesied by Baal, and went after useless idols. Be amazed at this, o heavens, and shudder with sheer horror, says the Lord. Two evils have my people done: they have forsaken me, the source of living waters; they have dug themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that hold no water.
Responsorial Psalm: 35
R/. With you is the fountain of life, o Lord.
O Lord, your mercy reaches to heaven; your faithfulness, to the clouds. Your justice is like the mountains of God; your judgments, like the mighty deep.

How precious is your mercy, o God! The children of men take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They have their fill of the prime gifts of your house; from your delightful stream you give them to drink.

For with you is the fountain of life, and in your light we see light. Keep up your mercy toward your friends, your just defense of the upright of heart.
Versicle before the Gospel ((Cf. Mt 11:25)): Alleluia. Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mt 13:10-17): The disciples approached Jesus and said, “Why do you speak to the crowd in parables?” He said to them in reply, “Because knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted. To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand. Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says:

You shall indeed hear but not understand, you shall indeed look but never see. Gross is the heart of this people, they will hardly hear with their ears, they have closed their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their hearts and be converted and I heal them.

“But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”

”Blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear”

Fr. Manel MALLOL Pratginestós (Terrassa, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, we remember the “encomium” Jesus Christ addressed to those around him in those days: “Blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear” (Mt 13:16). And we wonder: can Jesus' words be also intended for us, or only for those who saw and heard him directly? It looks like they, who were lucky enough to share their lives with Jesus, and physically and sensibly remained by his side, should be the only blessed ones. Whereas we should rather belong in the group of the upright people and prophets —without being either the upright ones or the prophets!— we would have liked to see and hear.

But we should not forget the Lord is referring to righteous people and prophets before his arrival, before his Revelation: “Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it” (Mt 13:17). The fullness of time is brought with him, and we find ourselves in this fullness; we are already in Christ's time, in Salvation's time... Certainly, we have not seen Jesus with our own eyes, but we have, indeed, known him. We do know him. We have not heard his voice with our own ears, but we have definitely heard his words. We do hear them. The knowledge our faith gives us, even though not perceptible, is a true knowledge, which brings us near the truth making us, therefore, feel happy and jubilant.

Let us be grateful to our Christian faith, let us be joyous. Let us try to make our relationship with Jesus not a remote one, but as close as possible one, as that of those disciples, who were by his side, who saw and heard him, treated him. Let us not look at Jesus from today to yesterday, but from today to today; let us actually share his time, a never-ending time. Prayer —to speak with the Lord— and the Eucharist —to receive him— assure us this nearness to him, and make us really happy while looking at him with the eyes and ears of our faith. “Receive, therefore, God's image, that you lost because of your bad deeds” (St. Augustine).

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “‘For whoever has, to him shall be given’. As much as to say, whoever has the desire and the zeal, to him shall be given all those things which are of God; but whoever lack these, and does not contribute that part that pertains to him, to him neither are the things which are of God given.” (Saint John Chrysostom)

  • “‘Why do you speak to them in parables?’ Precisely to encourage their decision, conversion of the heart; indeed, by their very nature parables demand the effort of interpretation, they not only challenge the mind but also freedom.” (Francis)

  • “The kingdom of heaven was inaugurated on earth by Christ. ‘This kingdom shone out before men in the word, in the works and in the presence of Christ’ (Vatican II)’. The Church is the seed and beginning of this kingdom (...)” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 567)