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A team of 200 priests comment on daily Gospel

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Liturgical day: Friday 17th in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Jer 26:1-9): In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim, son of Josiah, king of Judah, this message came from the Lord: Thus says the Lord: Stand in the court of the house of the Lord and speak to the people of all the cities of Judah who come to worship in the house of the Lord; whatever I command you, tell them, and omit nothing. Perhaps they will listen and turn back, each from his evil way, so that I may repent of the evil I have planned to inflict upon them for their evil deeds. Say to them: Thus says the Lord: If you disobey me, not living according to the law I placed before you and not listening to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I send you constantly though you do not obey them, I will treat this house like Shiloh, and make this the city to which all the nations of the earth shall refer when cursing another.

Now the priests, the prophets, and all the people heard Jeremiah speak these words in the house of the Lord. When Jeremiah finished speaking all that the Lord bade him speak to all the people, the priests and prophets laid hold of him, crying, ‘You must be put to death!’. Why do you prophesy in the name of the Lord: ‘This house shall be like Shiloh’, and ‘This city shall be desolate and deserted’?». And all the people gathered about Jeremiah in the house of the Lord.
Responsorial Psalm: 68
R/. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
Those outnumber the hairs of my head who hate me without cause. Too many for my strength are they who wrongfully are my enemies. Must I restore what I did not steal?

Since for your sake I bear insult, and shame covers my face. I have become an outcast to my brothers, a stranger to my mother’s sons, because zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who blaspheme you fall upon me.

But I pray to you, o Lord, for the time of your favor, o God! In your great kindness answer me with your constant help.
Versicle before the Gospel (1Pt 1:25): Alleluia. The word of the Lord remains forever; this is the word that has been proclaimed to you. Alleluia.

Gospel text (Mt 13,54-58): Jesus went to his hometown and taught the people in their synagogue. They were amazed and said, «Where did He get this wisdom and these special powers? Isn't He the carpenter's son? Isn't Mary his mother and aren't James, Joseph, Simon and Judas his brothers? Aren't all his sisters living here? How did he get all this?». And so they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, «The only place where prophets are not welcome is their hometown and in their own family». And He did not perform many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

«The only place where prophets are not welcome is their hometown and in their own family»

Fr. Jordi POU i Sabater
(Sant Jordi Desvalls, Girona, Spain)

Today, as in yesteryears, to speak about God to those we know is a difficult thing to do. In a commentary about Jesus, St. John Chrysostom says: «The villagers of Nazareth do admire him, but their admiration does not go to the point of believing in him but, rather, of feeling envious, as if meaning: ‘Why him and not I’». Jesus knew quite well those who, instead of listening to him, took offense at him. They were his relatives, friends, neighbors He appreciated, but precisely to whom He will not be able to let them have his message of salvation.

We —that cannot work out miracles or have Christ's saintliness— will not incite envies (though, at times, if we are really trying to live as true Christians, we may actually do). However, come what may, we shall often find that those we love the most are those who could not care less about listening to us. To this effect, we must also bear in mind that shortcomings are easier to spot than virtues and, accordingly, those closer to us may wonder: —What are you trying to teach me, who used to do (or still does) this or that?

To preach or speak about God with our own people or family may be difficult but necessary. It must be said that when He was going back home, Jesus was preceded by his miracles and his word. Maybe, in our case, we may need a certain reputation for saintliness, whether at home or away, before “preaching” to those at home.

In his previous comment St. John Chrysostom adds: «Please look at the Master's kindness: He does not punish them for not listening to him but He tells them sweetly: ‘The only place where prophets are not welcome is their hometown and in their own family’» (Mt 13:57)». It is evident Jesus would leave somewhat sadly but nonetheless He would proceed with his preaching until his word of salvation would be welcome by his own people. Likewise, we (that have nothing to forgive or oversee) will have to preach so that Jesus' word reaches those that we love but do not want to listen to us.