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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Saturday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Ruth 2:1-3.8-11; 4:13-17): Naomi had a prominent kinsman named Boaz, of the clan of her husband Elimelech. Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, «Let me go and glean ears of grain in the field of anyone who will allow me that favor». Naomi said to her, «Go, my daughter», and she went. The field she entered to glean after the harvesters happened to be the section belonging to Boaz of the clan of Elimelech.

Boaz said to Ruth, «Listen, my daughter! Do not go to glean in anyone else’s field; you are not to leave here. Stay here with my women servants. Watch to see which field is to be harvested, and follow them; I have commanded the young men to do you no harm. When you are thirsty, you may go and drink from the vessels the young men have filled». Casting herself prostrate upon the ground, Ruth said to him, «Why should I, a foreigner, be favored with your notice?». Boaz answered her: «I have had a complete account of what you have done for your mother-in-law after your husband’s death; you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know previously».

Boaz took Ruth. When they came together as man and wife, the Lord enabled her to conceive and she bore a son. Then the women said to Naomi, «Blessed is the Lord who has not failed to provide you today with an heir! May he become famous in Israel! He will be your comfort and the support of your old age, for his mother is the daughter-in-law who loves you. She is worth more to you than seven sons!». Naomi took the child, placed him on her lap, and became his nurse. And the neighbor women gave him his name, at the news that a grandson had been born to Naomi. They called him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.
Responsorial Psalm: 127
R/. See how the Lord blesses those who fear him.
Blessed are you who fear the Lord, who walk in his ways! For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork; blessed shall you be, and favored.

You wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the recesses of your home; your children like olive plants around your table.

Behold, thus is the man blessed who fears the Lord.

The Lord bless you from Zion: may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life.
Versicle before the Gospel (Mt 23:9.10): Alleluia. You have but one Father in heaven; you have but one master, the Christ. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mt 23,1-12): Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, «The teachers of the Law and the Pharisees sat on the seat of Moses. So you shall do and observe all they say, but do not do as they do, for they do not do what they say. They tie up heavy burdens and load them on the shoulders of the people, but they do not even raise a finger to move them. They do everything in order to be seen by people; so they wear very wide bands of the Law around their foreheads, and robes with large tassels. They enjoy the first place at feasts and reserved seats in the synagogues, and being greeted in the marketplace and being called “Master” by the people.

»But you, do not let yourselves be called Master because you have only one Master, and all of you are brothers and sisters. Neither should you call anyone on earth Father, because you have only one Father, He who is in heaven. Nor should you be called leader, because Christ is the only leader for you. Let the greatest among you be the servant of all. For whoever makes himself great shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be made great».

«Whoever makes himself great shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be made great»

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

Today, once more, Jesus Christ addresses us a request for humility, an invitation to position us in the true place we belong to: «Do not let yourselves be called Master (…); neither should you call anyone on earth Father, (…) nor should you be called leader» (Mt 23:8-10). Before assuming all these titles, let us try to thank God, for we have received from him whatever we have.

As St. Paul says «For who makes you different? And what do you have that you did not receive? But if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?» (1Co 4:7). So, when we are conscious of having correctly behaved, it would do us good to repeat: «We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty» (Lk 17:10).

Modern men are undergoing a regrettable amnesia: we live and behave as if we should have been the generators of life and creators of the world. In direct contrast, though, Aristotle is to be admired. In his natural theology he ignores the concept of “creation” (concept known in those times only by Divine Revelation), but, at least, he had quite clear in his mind this world depended on the Divinity (the “Incaused cause”). John Paul II appeals to us to remember what we owe to God: «Man must honour his Creator by offering him, in praise and thanksgiving, whatever he has received from Him. Man cannot lose this sense of duty, which only him may recognize, amongst all other earthly realities».

Besides, thinking of the everlasting life, our cooperation —He will not do anything without our permission nor without our effort!— consists of not disturbing the Holy Spirit's labour: to let God do it!; for saintliness is not “manufactured” by us, but granted by him, who is Master, Father and Leader. In any case, if we do believe we are and possess something, let us hasten to put it at the service of our fellow men: «Let the greatest among you be the servant of all» (Mt 23:11).