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A team of 200 priests comment on daily Gospel

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Liturgical day: Wednesday 22nd in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (1Cor 3:1-9): Brothers and sisters, I could not talk to you as spiritual people, but as fleshly people, as infants in Christ. I fed you milk, not solid food, because you were unable to take it. Indeed, you are still not able, even now, for you are still of the flesh. While there is jealousy and rivalry among you, are you not of the flesh, and walking according to the manner of man? Whenever someone says, "I belong to Paul," and another, «I belong to Apollos», are you not merely men? What is Apollos, after all, and what is Paul? Ministers through whom you became believers, just as the Lord assigned each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth. Therefore, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who causes the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive wages in proportion to his labor. For we are God's co-workers; you are God's field, God's building.
Responsorial Psalm: 32
R/. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Blessed the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he has chosen for his own inheritance. From heaven the Lord looks down; he sees all mankind.

From his fixed throne he beholds all who dwell on the earth, he who fashioned the heart of each, he who knows all their works.

Our soul waits for the Lord, who is our help and our shield, for in him our hearts rejoice; in his holy name we trust.
Versicle before the Gospel (Lk 4:18-19): Alleluia. The Lord sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor and to proclaim liberty to captives. Alleluia.

Gospel text (Lk 4,38-44): Leaving the synagogue, Jesus went to the house of Simon. His mother-in-law was suffering from high fever and they asked him to do something for her. Bending over her, He rebuked the fever, and it left her. Immediately she got up and waited on them. At sunset, people suffering from many kinds of sickness were brought to Jesus. Laying his hands on each one, He healed them. Demons were driven out, howling as they departed from their victims, «You are the Son of God!». He rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, for they knew He was the Messiah.

Jesus left at daybreak and looked for a solitary place. People went out in search of him and, finding him, they tried to dissuade him from leaving. But He said, «I have to go to other towns to announce the good news of the kingdom of God. That is what I was sent to do». So Jesus continued to preach in the synagogues of the Jewish country.

«Laying his hands on each one, He healed them. Demons were driven out»

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

Today, we are facing a great contrast: people out in search of Jesus and him healing all kind of “sickness” (starting with Simon's mother-in-law); at the same time, «demons were driven out, howling!» (Lk 4:41). That is: On one side, goodness and peace; evil and despair, on the other.

It is not the first time we see the devil being “driven out” that is, escaping from the presence of God amid shouting and expostulation. Let us remember the demon-possessed man of Gerasenes (cf. Lk 8:26-39). Yet, it is surprising that, here, it is the same devil that “comes out” to meet Jesus (though, admittedly, quite furious and angry, for God's presence was disturbing his shameful tranquility).

How often, too, we think that finding Jesus is just a nuisance! It bothers us having to attend Mass on Sundays; it flusters us to remember how long it is since our last prayer; we are ashamed of our mistakes, but we do not go to the Doctor of our soul begging for forgiveness... Let us ponder whether it is not our Lord who has to come out looking for us, when we are “reluctant” to leave our little “cave” to go out and meet He who is the shepherd of our souls and lives! This is simply called, half-heartedness.

This behavior has a diagnosis, though: apathy, lack of tension in our soul, anguish, disorderly curiosity, hyperactivity, spiritual laziness about matters of faith, pusillanimity, desire of being alone with ourselves... But there is also an antidote: to stop contemplating one's navel and getting down to work. To take the small commitment to devote every day a short while to look and listen to Jesus (this is what we call praying): Jesus did it too, for «He left at daybreak and looked for a solitary place» (Lk 4:42). To take the small commitment of defeating our selfishness in some small thing every day for the benefit of others (this is what we call loving). To take the small-great commitment to live every day coherently with our Christian life.