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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Friday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Rom 9:1-5): Brothers and sisters: I speak the truth in Christ, I do not lie; my conscience joins with the Holy Spirit in bearing me witness that I have great sorrow and constant anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people, my kindred according to the flesh. They are children of Israel; theirs the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; theirs the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.
Responsorial Psalm: 147
R/. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
Glorify the Lord, o Jerusalem; praise your God, o Zion. For he has strengthened the bars of your gates; he has blessed your children within you.

He has granted peace in your borders; with the best of wheat he fills you. He sends forth his command to the earth; swiftly runs his word!

He has proclaimed his word to Jacob, his statutes and his ordinances to Israel. He has not done thus for any other nation; his ordinances he has not made known to them. Alleluia.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 10:27): Alleluia. My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Lk 14,1-6): One Sabbath Jesus had gone to eat a meal in the house of a leading Pharisee, and He was carefully watched. In front of him was a man suffering from dropsy; so Jesus asked the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees, «Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?». But no one answered. Jesus then took the man, healed him and sent him away. And he addressed them, «If your lamb or your ox falls into a well on a Sabbath day, who among you doesn't hurry to pull it out?». And they could not answer.

«Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?»

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

Today, we will center our attention on the piercing question Jesus asked the Pharisees: «Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?» (Lk 14:4), and in their very significant silence, as per St. Luke: «But no one answered» (Lk 14:4).

Many are the Gospel episodes where Our Lord reproaches their hypocrisy to the Pharisees. It is quite noteworthy how God's outstanding interest in substantiating up to which point He dislikes this sin —false appearances, deceitful actions—, which is placed at the antipodes of Christ's praise to Nathaniel: «Here is a true Israelite. There is no duplicity in him» (Jn 1:47). God loves the heart's simplicity, the spirit's naivety while, on the other hand, He rejects with energy the intricacies, the shady looks, the double standards, the hypocrisy.

That which is significant in the Lord's question and in the Pharisees' silent reply is the bad conscience they had, deep inside. There was a man suffering from dropsy who was looking forward to be healed by Jesus. The fulfillment of the Judaic Law —ludicrous concentration on the letter with total disdain of the spirit— and the empty presumption of their blameless behavior, brings them to appear shocked by the attitude of Christ who, carried away by his merciful heart, does not allow any legal formalisms to prevent him from healing he who is ailing.

The Pharisees realize that their hypocrite behavior cannot be justified and this is what keeps them silent. In this passage a very clear lesson is shining through: the need to understand that saintliness is to follow Christ —to full enamorment— and not to coldly fulfill some legal precepts. The Commandments are holly because they come all the way directly from God's infinite Wisdom, but it is quite possible to live them in a legalist and empty way, and it is then when the incongruence appears of pretending to follow God and ending up by going behind ourselves.

Let the charming simplicity of the Mother of God direct our lives.