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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 gave him this warning, «Leave this place and go on your way, for Herod wants to kill you». Jesus said to them, «Go and give that fox my answer: ‘I drive out demons and heal today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my course!’. Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and for a little longer, for it would not be fitting for a prophet to be killed outside Jerusalem.

»O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you slay the prophets and stone your apostles! How often have I tried to bring together your children, as a bird gathers her young under her wings, but you refused! From now on you will be left with your temple and you will no longer see me until the time when you will say: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord».

«Jerusalem, Jerusalem! How often have I tried to bring together your children, but you refused!»

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 drive out demons and heal today and tomorrow» (Lk 13:32). With this attitude, the Lord set out the rules giving guidance on how the messengers of the Gospel should 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, later on, after the survivors.

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 over 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.

«O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you slay the prophets and stone your apostles! How often have I tried to bring together your children, as a bird gathers her young under her wings, but you refused! Look, your house is left to you desolate» (Lk 34:35). This lamentation of the Lord has very especial 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.