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Liturgical day: Tuesday 25th in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Ezra 6:7-8.12b.14-20): King Darius issued an order to the officials of West-of-Euphrates: «Let the governor and the elders of the Jews continue the work on that house of God; they are to rebuild it on its former site. I also issue this decree concerning your dealing with these elders of the Jews in the rebuilding of that house of God: From the royal revenue, the taxes of West-of-Euphrates, let these men be repaid for their expenses, in full and without delay. I, Darius, have issued this decree; let it be carefully executed».

The elders of the Jews continued to make progress in the building, supported by the message of the prophets, Haggai and Zechariah, son of Iddo. They finished the building according to the command of the God of Israel and the decrees of Cyrus and Darius and of Artaxerxes, king of Persia. They completed this house on the third day of the month Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius. The children of Israel–priests, Levites, and the other returned exiles, celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy. For the dedication of this house of God, they offered one hundred bulls, two hundred rams, and four hundred lambs, together with twelve he-goats as a sin-offering for all Israel, in keeping with the number of the tribes of Israel.

Finally, they set up the priests in their classes and the Levites in their divisions for the service of God in Jerusalem, as is prescribed in the book of Moses. The exiles kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month. The Levites, every one of whom had purified himself for the occasion, sacrificed the Passover for the rest of the exiles, for their brethren the priests, and for themselves.
Responsorial Psalm: 121
R/. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
I rejoiced because they said to me, «We will go up to the house of the Lord». And now we have set foot within your gates, o Jerusalem.

Jerusalem, built as a city with compact unity. To it the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord.

According to the decree for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord. In it are set up judgment seats, seats for the house of David.
Verscicle before the Gospel (Lk 8:28): Alleluia. Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it. Alleluia.

Gospel text (Lk 8,19-21): The mother and relatives of Jesus came to him, but they could not get to him because of the crowd. Someone told him, «Your mother and your brothers are standing outside and wish to meet you». Then Jesus answered, «My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it».

«My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it»

Fr. Xavier JAUSET i Clivillé
(Lleida, Spain)

Today, we can read a beautiful passage of the Gospel. Jesus is not showing any disrespect for his mother, inasmuch as She has been the first one to hear the Word of God, and He, who is the Word of God, was born from Her. At the same time She is who, most perfectly, has fulfilled God's will: «Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done onto me according to your word» (Lk 1:38), was Her answer to the Angel of the Annunciation.

Jesus tells us what we need to do to likewise pertain to his family: «those who hear...» (Lk 8:21) and to hear him we must get close to him, as his own relatives did, when they went where He was, but could not get to him because of the crowd. But, then, they tried to get closer. It might be convenient for us to ask ourselves if, to get closer to the Word of God, we do fight and try to overcome the obstacles we keep finding on the way. Do I devote, every day, a few minutes to reading, listening to or mulling over the Holy Scriptures? St. Thomas Aquinas reminds us «we must continuously meditate the Word of God (...); this meditation is a powerful help in our fight against sin».

And, finally, to abide by the Word. It is not enough to hear the Word; we must put it into action if we want to become God's relatives. We must put into practice what we are told! This is why it would perhaps be good to ask ourselves whether we only behave obediently when what we are asked just suits us well or is rather easy to do, or if, on the contrary, when it means giving up our comfort, our own prestige, our material things or whatever leisure time we may have at our disposal..., we use to place the Word between parenthesis, until some better time may come. Let us pray to the Virgin Mary that, as She did once, we may hear and abide by the Word of God, so that we shall, thus, be able to follow the path leading to eternal happiness.