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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 (Heb 9:2-3.11-14): A tabernacle was constructed, the outer one, in which were the lampstand, the table, and the bread of offering; this is called the Holy Place. Behind the second veil was the tabernacle called the Holy of Holies. But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that have come to be, passing through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made by hands, that is, not belonging to this creation, he entered once for all into the sanctuary, not with the blood of goats and calves but with his own Blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkling of a heifer's ashes can sanctify those who are defiled so that their flesh is cleansed, how much more will the Blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to worship the living God.
Responsorial Psalm: 46
R/. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
All you peoples, clap your hands, shout to God with cries of gladness, for the Lord, the Most High, the awesome, is the great king over all the earth.

God mounts his throne amid shouts of joy; the Lord, amid trumpet blasts. Sing praise to God, sing praise; sing praise to our king, sing praise.

For king of all the earth is God: sing hymns of praise. God reigns over the nations, God sits upon his holy throne.
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)