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A team of 200 priests comment on daily Gospel

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Liturgical day: Saturday 29th in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Rom 8:1-11): Brothers and sisters: Now there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has freed you from the law of sin and death. For what the law, weakened by the flesh, was powerless to do, this God has done: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for the sake of sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the righteous decree of the law might be fulfilled in us, who live not according to the flesh but according to the spirit.

For those who live according to the flesh are concerned with the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the spirit with the things of the spirit. The concern of the flesh is death, but the concern of the spirit is life and peace. For the concern of the flesh is hostility toward God; it does not submit to the law of God, nor can it; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh; on the contrary, you are in the spirit, if only the Spirit of God dwells in you. Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the spirit is alive because of righteousness. If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit that dwells in you.
Responsorial Psalm: 23
R/. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
The Lord's are the earth and its fullness; the world and those who dwell in it. For he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.

Who can ascend the mountain of the Lord? Or who may stand in his holy place? He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean, who desires not what is vain.

He shall receive a blessing from the Lord, a reward from God his savior. Such is the race that seeks for him, that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.
Verscicle before the Gospel (Ezek 33:11): Alleluia. I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, says the Lord, but rather in his conversion that he may live. Alleluia.

Gospel text (Lk 13,1-9): One day some persons told Jesus what had occurred in the Temple: Pilate had Galileans killed and their blood mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. Jesus replied, «Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this? I tell you: no. But unless you change your ways, you will all perish as they did. And those eighteen persons in Siloah who were crushed when the tower fell, do you think they were more guilty than all the others in Jerusalem? I tell you: no. But unless you change your ways, you will all perish as they did».

And Jesus continued with this story, «A man had a fig tree growing in his vine-yard and he came looking for fruit on it, but found none. Then he said to the gardener: ‘Look here, for three years now I have been looking for figs on this tree and I have found none. Cut it down, why should it use up the ground?’. The gardener replied: ‘Leave it one more year, so that I may dig around it and add some fertilizer; and perhaps it will bear fruit from now on. But if it doesn't, you can cut it down».

«He came looking for fruit on it, but found none»

+ Fr. Antoni ORIOL i Tataret
(Vic, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, Jesus' words invite us to ponder over the inconveniences of hypocrisy: «A man had a fig tree growing in his vine-yard and he came looking for fruit on it, but found none» (Lk 13:6). The hypocrite makes believe to be what he is not. This lie reaches its apex when one feigns virtue (the moral aspect) but is dissolute and libertine, or feigns devotion (the religious aspect) but only cares about himself and his own interests and not about God. Moral hypocrisy abounds in our world, and religious hypocrisy hurts the Church.

Jesus' invectives against the masters of the Law and the Pharisees —clearer and more direct in other evangelic fragments— are very strong. We cannot help reading them or feeling what we have just felt and read and not remain astounded, unless we have not really understood or listened to its message.

We all have experienced the distance between what we pretend to be and what we actually are. Some politicians are hypocritical when they claim to be serving their country while they are simply using it; security forces can be, when, in the name of public order, they protect crooked and illegal groups; sanitary personnel could also be when, in the name of medicine, they decide to do away with an incipient life or advance the ending of a terminal patient; the media, when they alter the news or pretend to amuse people by corrupting them; administrators of public money, when they divert part of it to their own party or individual pockets, but openly proclaim their honesty; the laity, when they hinder the public dimension of religion in the name of the freedom of conscience; friars, when they live out of their monastic orders, unfaithful to the spirit and demands of their rule; and priests, who live from the altar and do not serve their parishioners with evangelic spirit and abnegation; etc.

Ah! and you and I too, to the extent our conscience may tell us what we are supposed to be doing and we do not do it, and we prefer to see the splinter in the other's eye while we do not even want to realize we have a trunk in our own eyes. Is it not so?

—Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, save us from our hypocrisies, whether be small or great!