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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Friday 2nd in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Heb 8:6-13): Brothers and sisters: Now our high priest has obtained so much more excellent a ministry as he is mediator of a better covenant, enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, no place would have been sought for a second one. But he finds fault with them and says: Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will conclude a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers the day I took them by the hand to lead them forth from the land of Egypt; for they did not stand by my covenant and I ignored them, says the Lord.

But this is the covenant I will establish with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their minds and I will write them upon their hearts. I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach, each one his fellow citizen and kin, saying, ‘Know the Lord’, for all shall know me, from least to greatest. For I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sins no more. When he speaks of a “new” covenant, he declares the first one obsolete. And what has become obsolete and has grown old is close to disappearing.
Responsorial Psalm: 84
R/. Kindness and truth shall meet.
Show us, o Lord, your mercy, and grant us your salvation. Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him, glory dwelling in our land.

Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss. Truth shall spring out of the earth, and justice shall look down from heaven.

The Lord himself will give his benefits; our land shall yield its increase. Justice shall walk before him, and salvation, along the way of his steps.
Versicle before the Gospel (2Cor 5:19): Alleluia. God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mk 3,13-19): Jesus went up into the hill country and called those He wanted and they came to him. So He appointed twelve to be with him; and he called them apostles. He wanted to send them out to preach, and He gave them authority to drive out demons. These are the Twelve: Simon, to whom he gave the name Peter; James, son of Zebedee, and John his brother, to whom he gave the name Boanerges, which means “men of thunder”; Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alpheus, Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him.

«Jesus went up into the hill country and called those He wanted»

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

Today, the Gospel considers the theology of Christian vocation: «The Lord called those he wanted to be with him and send them to be apostles» (cf. Mk 3:13-14). First, He calls them: For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy (cf. Eph 1:4). God loves us, shaping us in Christ, encouraging us to develop the characteristics necessary for us to become his children. These qualities are best understood when we consider them from a vocational perspective; vocation is the “role” in life that God's plan of redemption has allotted us so that we can fulfill our part in his work of redemption. Only by discovering your God-given vocation —the true reasons for your life— and by fulfilling it on his terms, will you come to know yourself as God knows you.

And what does God require of those He calls? He asks us to live close to him as we serve him, and in return, He promises to stay close to us. Yet, God speaks to each one of us individually and specifically. «One day perhaps an ordinary Christian, just like you, opened your eyes to horizons both deep and new, yet as old as the Gospel. He suggested to you the prospect of following Christ earnestly, seriously, of becoming an apostle of apostles. Perhaps you lost your balance then and didn't recover it. Your complacency wasn't quite replaced by true peace until you freely said “yes” to God, because you wanted to, which is the most supernatural of reasons. And in its wake came a strong, constant joy, which disappears only when you abandon him» (Saint Josemaria Escrivá de Balaguer).

It is a blessing, but it is a blessing that can only be fully realized when we become holy through our willingness to serve, through prayer, and through the blessed sacraments. «All faithful Christians, of any kind and condition, are called to the plenitude of Christian life and to the perfection of charity; a sanctity that, also in our earthly society, contributes to humanize our way of life» (Vatican Council II).

This is how we learn of our apostolic mission of taking Christ to others. First, having him ourselves so that we can share him. Today, and every day, we must meditate upon the true nature of our call to vocation, answering his call with an increased love, born of our increased understanding of what He calls us to do and to be.