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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Tuesday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Judg 6:11-24a): The angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite. While his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press to save it from the Midianites, the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, «The Lord is with you, O champion!». Gideon said to him, «My Lord, if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are his wondrous deeds of which our fathers told us when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’. For now the Lord has abandoned us and has delivered us into the power of Midian». The Lord turned to him and said, «Go with the strength you have and save Israel from the power of Midian. It is I who send you». But Gideon answered him, «Please, my lord, how can I save Israel? My family is the lowliest in Manasseh, and I am the most insignificant in my father's house». «I shall be with you», the Lord said to him, «and you will cut down Midian to the last man».

Gideon answered him, «If I find favor with you, give me a sign that you are speaking with me. Do not depart from here, I pray you, until I come back to you and bring out my offering and set it before you». He answered, «I will await your return». So Gideon went off and prepared a kid and a measure of flour in the form of unleavened cakes. Putting the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot, he brought them out to him under the terebinth and presented them. The angel of God said to him, «Take the meat and unleavened cakes and lay them on this rock; then pour out the broth». When he had done so, the angel of the Lord stretched out the tip of the staff he held, and touched the meat and unleavened cakes. Thereupon a fire came up from the rock that consumed the meat and unleavened cakes, and the angel of the Lord disappeared from sight. Gideon, now aware that it had been the angel of the Lord, said, «Alas, Lord God, that I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!». The Lord answered him, «Be calm, do not fear. You shall not die». So Gideon built there an altar to the Lord and called it Yahweh-shalom.
Responsorial Psalm: 84
R/. The Lord speaks of peace to his people.
I will hear what God proclaims; the Lord–for he proclaims peace to his people, and to his faithful ones, and to those who put in him their hope.

Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss. Truth shall spring out of the earth, and justice shall look down from heaven.

The Lord himself will give his benefits; our land shall yield its increase. Justice shall walk before him, and salvation, along the way of his steps.
Versicle before the Gospel (2Cor 8:9): Alleluia. Jesus Christ became poor although he was rich so that by his poverty you might become rich. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mt 19,23-30): Jesus said to his disciples, «Truly I say to you: it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Yes, believe me: it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for the one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven». On hearing this the disciples were astonished and said, «Who, then, can be saved?». Jesus looked steadily at them and answered, «For humans it is impossible, but for God all things are possible».

Then Peter spoke up and said, «You see we have given up everything to follow you: what will be our lot?». Jesus answered, «You who have followed me, listen to my words: on the Day of Renewal, when the Son of Man sits on his throne in glory, you, too, will sit on twelve thrones to rule the twelve tribes of Israel. As for those who have left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children or property for my Name's sake, they will receive a hundredfold and be given eternal life. Many who are now first will be last, and many who are now last will be first».

«It will be hard for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven... Who, then, can be saved?»

Fr. Fernando PERALES i Madueño (Terrassa, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, we contemplate the reaction provoked by the dialogue of Jesus with the rich young man: «Who, then, can be saved?» (Mt 19:25). The words our Lord addressed to the rich young man are very tough and severe, but they are supposed to awake and surprise our drowsiness. They are not isolated words, to be found here and there in the Gospels: this type of message is repeated twenty times. We must remember it: Jesus warns us of the obstacle riches and wealth represents to enter life...

And, despite it all, Jesus loved and called wealthy men, without demanding from them the abandonment of their responsibilities. Wealth, per se, is not bad; its origin is, if it was unjustly acquired or its destination, if it is selfishly employed without bearing in mind the needy, if it closes our heart to the true spiritual values (where there is no need of God).

«Who can be saved?». Jesus responds: «For humans it is impossible, but for God all things are possible» (Mt 19:26). —Lord, You know quite well men's skills to attenuate your Word. I must say it, Lord, help me! Convert my heart.

After the rich young man left, sadly, because he wanted to stick to his wealth, Peter spoke and said: —Grant, O Lord, your Church and your Apostles, to be capable of abandoning everything for You.

«On the Day of Renewal, when the Son of Man sits on his throne in glory...» (Mt 19:28). Your thoughts are aiming towards this “day”, towards the future. You are a man with a tendency towards the end of the world, towards the plenitude of man. Then, Lord, everything will be new, renewed and beautiful.

Jesus Christ says: —«You who have given up everything will sit with the Son of Man... Will receive a hundredfold... and be given eternal life... (cf. Mt 19:28-29).

The future you promise to your disciples, to those who have followed you and have given up all obstacles... is a happy future, and it is the abundance of life, the plenitude of life.

—Thank you Lord. Guide me towards that day!