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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Friday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (1Cor 9:16-19.22b-27): Brothers and sisters: If I preach the Gospel, this is no reason for me to boast, for an obligation has been imposed on me, and woe to me if I do not preach it! If I do so willingly, I have a recompense, but if unwillingly, then I have been entrusted with a stewardship. What then is my recompense? That, when I preach, I offer the Gospel free of charge so as not to make full use of my right in the Gospel.

Although I am free in regard to all, I have made myself a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible. I have become all things to all, to save at least some. All this I do for the sake of the Gospel, so that I too may have a share in it.

Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize? Run so as to win. Every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one. Thus I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing. No, I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.
Responsorial Psalm: 83
R/. How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, mighty God!
My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the Lord. My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.

Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest in which she puts her young. Your altars, o Lord of hosts, my king and my God!

Blessed they who dwell in your house! Continually they praise you. Blessed the men whose strength you are! Their hearts are set upon the pilgrimage.

For a sun and a shield is the Lord God; grace and glory he bestows. The Lord withholds no good thing from those who walk in sincerity.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 17:17): Alleluia. Your word, o Lord, is truth; consecrate us in the truth. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Lk 6:39-42): Jesus told his disciples a parable: “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit? No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’ when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.”

“No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher”

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

Today, the words of the Gospel make us think about how important examples are along with providing an exemplary life for others. Yes, indeed, we have a saying that goes “‘Friar example’ is the best preacher”, and another one saying “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Let us not forget that we, Christians, are —with no exception!— guides, as our Baptism confers on us a participation in Christ's priesthood (saving intercession): all of us that have received the baptism, have also received the baptismal priesthood. And all priesthood, beyond its mission to sanctify and teach others, also embodies the ‘munus’ —the function— to rule and lead.

Yes, with our behavior —whether we like it or not— we have the opportunity to become a stimulating model for those around us. Let us think, for instance, about the influence parents have over their children, teachers over their pupils, authorities over citizens, etc. And consequently, Christians must be particularly conscious of this fact. For..., “Can a blind person guide a blind person?” (Lk 6:39).

For us, Christians, what the Jews and the first generations of Christians said of Jesus Christ: “He has done all things well” (Mk 7:37); “all that Jesus did and taught” (Act 1:1) should be like a call to attention.

We must try to transform into deeds what we believe in and declare by word of mouth. On one occasion, Pope Benedict XVI, when he still was Cardinal Ratzinger, asserted that “those adapted Christianities are the most threatening danger”, that is, those persons that boast of their Christianity but, in actual practice, their behavior shows they do not manifest the characteristic “radicalism” of the Gospel.

To be radical, though, is not tantamount to be fanatical (for charity is patient and tolerant) or to be immoderate (for moderation is impossible in love matters). As John Paul II has said, “the crucified Lord is an insurmountable testimony of patient love and humble meekness”: He is not fanatic or immoderate. But He is radical, so much so, that the centurion who was present at his death felt like saying: “This man was innocent beyond doubt” (Lk 23:47).

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “Try to acquire the virtues you believe lacking in your brothers. Then you will no longer see their defects, for you will no longer have them yourself.” (Saint Augustine)

  • “Prayer and the sacraments obtain for us that light of truth thanks to which we are able to be at once tender and strong, gentle and firm, silent and communicative at the right time, admonishing and correcting in the right way.” (Benedict XVI)

  • “By charity, we love God above all things and our neighbor as ourselves for love of God. Charity, the form of all the virtues, ‘binds everything together in perfect harmony’ (Col 3:14).” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, nº 1844)