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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Thursday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading (Eph 6:10-20): Brothers and sisters: Draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the Devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground.

So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the Gospel of peace. In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all the flaming arrows of the Evil One. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit.

To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the holy ones and also for me, that speech may be given me to open my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the Gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains, so that I may have the courage to speak as I must.
Responsorial Psalm: 143
R/. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for battle, my fingers for war.

My mercy and my fortress, my stronghold, my deliverer, my shield, in whom I trust, who subdues my people under me.

O God, I will sing a new song to you; with a ten-stringed lyre I will chant your praise, you who give victory to kings, and deliver David, your servant from the evil sword.
Versicle before the Gospel (Cf. Lk 19:38; 2:14): Alleluia. Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord. Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Lk 13:31-35): Some Pharisees came to Jesus and said, “Go away, leave this area because Herod wants to kill you.” He replied, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and I perform healings today and tomorrow, and on the third day I accomplish my purpose. Yet I must continue on my way today, tomorrow, and the following day, for it is impossible that a prophet should die outside of Jerusalem.’

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were unwilling! Behold, your house will be abandoned. But I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how many times I yearned to gather your children together, but you were unwilling!”

Fr. Àngel Eugeni PÉREZ i Sánchez (Barcelona, Spain)

Today, we can admire Jesus' resolve to accomplish the mission His Father in Heaven has entrusted him with. Nothing would stop Him: “I cast out demons and I perform healings today and tomorrow” (Lk 13:32). With this attitude, the Lord sets out the rules giving guidance on how the messengers of the Gospel whould have to behave in front of the persecutions they would be facing through the centuries to come: not to be afraid of any temporal power. St. Augustine says that, in troubled times, the shepherds are not to abandon their flock: neither those who will suffer martyrdom nor those who will survive. Just like the Good Shepherd who, when He sees the wolf coming, does not desert the flock, but risks and lays down his own life for the sheep. But, realizing the fervor with which all the pastors of the Church were willing to shed their own blood, He points out that the best thing to do will be to draw lots to see who will have to suffer martyrdom and who will be spared to look after the survivors, later on.

Unfortunately, in our time and with undue frequency, we hear the news of new religious persecutions, tribal violence or ethnic riots in the Third World. Western embassies advise their fellow citizens to move out from these areas and repatriate their personnel. The only ones who remain are the missionary and volunteer organizations, who feel they would betray “their own faithful” should they desert them in those moments of trouble.

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were unwilling! Behold, your house will be abandoned” (Lk 34:35). This lamentation of the Lord has very special and sad connotations for us Christians of the 21st century, due to the bloody conflict between Palestinians and Jews. This area of the Near East is for us, the Holy Land, the land of Jesus and Mary. And the clamor for the peace everywhere has to be more intense and sincere for the restoration of peace between Israel and Palestine.

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “God desires not death, but faith. God thirsts not for blood, but for self-surrender. God is appeased not by slaughter, but by the offering of your free will.” (Saint Peter Chrysologus)

  • “Jerusalem was the bride, the betrothed of the Lord: He really loved her!”. However, “she wasn’t aware of the Lord’s visitations” and she “made the Lord weep”… Jerusalem fell because of distraction, for not welcoming the Lord who came to save her”. (Francis)

  • “On the threshold of his Passion Jesus announced the coming destruction of this splendid building, of which there would not remain "one stone upon another". By doing so, he announced a sign of the last days, which were to begin with his own Passover…” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 585)