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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Saturday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading (2Sam 1:1-4.11-12.19.23-27): David returned from his defeat of the Amalekites and spent two days in Ziklag. On the third day a man came from Saul’s camp, with his clothes torn and dirt on his head. Going to David, he fell to the ground in homage. David asked him, «Where do you come from?». He replied, «I have escaped from the camp of the children of Israel». «Tell me what happened», David bade him. He answered that many of the soldiers had fled the battle and that many of them had fallen and were dead, among them Saul and his son Jonathan.

David seized his garments and rent them, and all the men who were with him did likewise. They mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the soldiers of the Lord of the clans of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword. «Alas! the glory of Israel, Saul, slain upon your heights; how can the warriors have fallen! Saul and Jonathan, beloved and cherished, separated neither in life nor in death, swifter than eagles, stronger than lions! Women of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet and in finery, who decked your attire with ornaments of gold. How can the warriors have fallen– in the thick of the battle, slain upon your heights! I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother! most dear have you been to me; more precious have I held love for you than love for women. How can the warriors have fallen, the weapons of war have perished!».
Responsorial Psalm: 79
R/. Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved.
O shepherd of Israel, hearken, o guide of the flock of Joseph! From your throne upon the cherubim, shine forth before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh. Rouse your power, and come to save us.

O Lord of hosts, how long will you burn with anger while your people pray? You have fed them with the bread of tears and given them tears to drink in ample measure. You have left us to be fought over by our neighbors, and our enemies mock us.
Versicle before the Gospel (Acts 16:14): Alleluia. Open our hearts, o Lord, to listen to the words of your Son. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mk 3:20-21): Jesus came with his disciples into the house. Again the crowd gathered, making it impossible for them even to eat. When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

“He is out of his mind”

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

Today, we see how Jesus' own relatives react “He is out of his mind” (Mk 3:21). Once again, the old proverb “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house” (Mt 13:57), is seen to be true. It is unnecessary to say this complaint does not “taint” the Blessed Virgin Mary, because from the beginning to the last moment —when she was at the foot of the Cross— she always kept her immovable faith and trust towards her Son.

But, what about us? Think about how many, amongst our neighbors or those closer to us, can we say light up our lives... We do not have to go very far: let us consider the Holy Father St. John Paul II: how many people followed him and, at the same time, how many did not hesitate to accuse him of being “stubborn and out-of-date”, jealous of his “power”? Is it possible that after two thousand years Jesus is still on the cross for our salvation while we onlookers keep saying to Him: “come down from the Cross so we may see and believe”? (cf. Mk 15:32)

Let us look at it another way! If we valiantly identify ourselves with Christ, our presence will not be neutral for those interacting with us for reasons of kinship, work, etc. Moreover, our presence will be a pain in the neck for some people, because we shall be like a reminder for their conscience. We can be certain: “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (Jn 15:20). With their mockery they will try to conceal their fears; with their disqualifications they will perform a poor defense of their “laziness”.

How many times we Catholics are being accused of “exaggerating”? We have to reply we are not, for it is impossible to exaggerate in matters of love. Instead, it is quite true we are “radical”, because love is just so “absorbent”: “it has to be either all or nothing”; “or love kills the self or the self kills love.”

This is why St. John Paul II spoke of “evangelic radicalism” and of “not being afraid”: “In the cause of the Kingdom there is no time for looking back, even less for settling into laziness”.

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “A sector of the people pejoratively judges the work and message of Christ. We should learn from the fortitude of Christ in suffering such defamation and slander. What does it matter that men dishonor us, if our conscience defends us?” (Saint Gregory the Great)

  • “His Mother always followed him faithfully, keeping the eyes of her heart fixed on Jesus and on his mystery. Let us ask Mary to help us too to keep our gaze firmly fixed on Jesus and to follow him always, even when it costs what it may.” (Francis)

  • “Many things about Jesus of interest to human curiosity do not figure in the Gospels. Almost nothing is said about his hidden life at Nazareth, and even a great part of his public life is not recounted. What is written in the Gospels was set down there ‘so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name’ (Jn 20:31).” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 514)