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Liturgical day: Friday 26th in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Bar 1:15-22): During the Babylonian captivity, the exiles prayed: «Justice is with the Lord, our God; and we today are flushed with shame, we men of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem, that we, with our kings and rulers and priests and prophets, and with our ancestors, have sinned in the Lord's sight and disobeyed him. We have neither heeded the voice of the Lord, our God, nor followed the precepts which the Lord set before us. From the time the Lord led our ancestors out of the land of Egypt until the present day, we have been disobedient to the Lord, our God, and only too ready to disregard his voice.

And the evils and the curse that the Lord enjoined upon Moses, his servant, at the time he led our ancestors forth from the land of Egypt to give us the land flowing with milk and honey, cling to us even today. For we did not heed the voice of the Lord, our God, in all the words of the prophets whom he sent us, but each one of us went off after the devices of his own wicked heart, served other gods, and did evil in the sight of the Lord, our God».
Responsorial Psalm: 78
R/. For the glory of your name, o Lord, deliver us.
O God, the nations have come into your inheritance; they have defiled your holy temple, they have laid Jerusalem in ruins. They have given the corpses of your servants as food to the birds of heaven, the flesh of your faithful ones to the beasts of the earth.

They have poured out their blood like water round about Jerusalem, and there is no one to bury them. We have become the reproach of our neighbors, the scorn and derision of those around us. O Lord, how long? Will you be angry forever? Will your jealousy burn like fire?

Remember not against us the iniquities of the past; may your compassion quickly come to us, for we are brought very low.

Help us, o God our savior, because of the glory of your name; deliver us and pardon our sins for your name's sake.
Verscicle before the Gospel (Ps 94:8): Alleluia. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts. Alleluia.

Gospel text (Lk 10,13-16): Jesus said, «Alas for you Chorazin! Alas for you Bethsaida! So many miracles have been worked in you! If the same miracles had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would already be sitting in ashes and wearing the sackcloth of repentance. Surely for Tyre and Sidon it will be better than for you on the Judgment Day. And what of you, city of Capernaum? Will you be lifted up to heaven? You will be thrown down to the place of the dead. Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me; and he who rejects me, rejects the one who sent me».

«Whoever listens to you listens to me»

Fr. Jordi SOTORRA i Garriga
(Sabadell, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, we contemplate Jesus addressing his speech to some towns of Galilee where He had preached and carried out the works by his Father, and that had been the cause of his preoccupation. Nowhere had He preached and made miracles as He did in Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum. The sowing had been plentiful, but the harvest had been meager. Not even Jesus could persuade them...! What a mystery human freedom is! We can say “no” to God... The evangelic message is not imposed upon us by force: it is offered to me but I can refuse it; I can accept it or reject it. Our Lord's respect for my freedom is total. What a responsibility for me!

Jesus' language: «Alas for you Chorazin! Alas for you Bethsaida!» (Lk 10:13) when his apostolic mission was over, is more indicative of suffering than of condemnation. The nearness of the Kingdom of God was not a call for penance and conversion for those towns. Jesus recognizes that Tyre and Sidon would have taken more advantage of all the grace granted to the Galilees.

But Jesus' frustration is even bigger when He refers to Capernaum. «Will you be lifted up to heaven? You will be thrown down to the place of the dead» (Lk 10:15). It was there where Peter had his home and Jesus had centered his preaching. Once again, we can detect in these words a feeling of sadness rather than a threat. We could, just as well, say the same out of many cities and persons of our time. They believe they are being lifted, but in fact, they are being thrown down.

«Whoever listens to you listens to me» (Lk 10:16). These words ending today's Gospel are a call to conversion and are bearers of hope. If we listen to Jesus' voice, we still have time. Conversion happens when love banishes selfishness from our life, which is a permanent unfinished task. St. Maximus will tell us: «Nothing is more pleasant and loved by God, than men convert to him with sincere contrition».