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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Wednesday of the Twenty-second Week 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): After Jesus left the synagogue, he entered the house of Simon. Simon’s mother-in-law was afflicted with a severe fever, and they interceded with him about her. He stood over her, rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up immediately and waited on them.

At sunset, all who had people sick with various diseases brought them to him. He laid his hands on each of them and cured them. And demons also came out from many, shouting, “You are the Son of God.” But he rebuked them and did not allow them to speak because they knew that he was the Christ.

At daybreak, Jesus left and went to a deserted place. The crowds went looking for him, and when they came to him, they tried to prevent him from leaving them. But he said to them, “To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent.” And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.

“He laid his hands on each of them and cured them”

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 kinds of “sickness” (starting with Simon's mother-in-law); at the same time, “demons also came out from many, shouting” (Lk 4:41). That is: on one side, goodness and peace; on the other side, evil and despair.

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 every day to devote a short while to look and listen to Jesus (this is what we call praying): Jesus did it too, for “at daybreak, Jesus left and went to a deserted 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.

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “The cured woman showed great virtue, and that she had profited by her sickness: she desired only to use her health for the service of Our Lord the very instant she had recovered it.” (Saint Francis de Sales)

  • “In sickness we all need human warmth: to comfort a sick person what counts more than words is serene and sincere closeness.” (Benedict XVI)

  • “Illness can lead to anguish, self-absorption, sometimes even despair and revolt against God. It can also make a person more mature, helping him discern in his life what is not essential so that he can turn toward that which is. Very often illness provokes a search for God and a return to him.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1501)