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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Monday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading (Wis 1:1-7): Love justice, you who judge the earth; think of the Lord in goodness, and seek him in integrity of heart; because he is found by those who test him not, and he manifests himself to those who do not disbelieve him. For perverse counsels separate a man from God, and his power, put to the proof, rebukes the foolhardy; because into a soul that plots evil, wisdom enters not, nor dwells she in a body under debt of sin. For the holy Spirit of discipline flees deceit and withdraws from senseless counsels; and when injustice occurs it is rebuked. For wisdom is a kindly spirit, yet she acquits not the blasphemer of his guilty lips; because God is the witness of his inmost self and the sure observer of his heart and the listener to his tongue. For the Spirit of the Lord fills the world, is all-embracing, and knows what man says.
Responsorial Psalm: 138
R/. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
O Lord, you have probed me and you know me; you know when I sit and when I stand; you understand my thoughts from afar. My journeys and my rest you scrutinize, with all my ways you are familiar.

Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, o Lord, you know the whole of it. Behind me and before, you hem me in and rest your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your spirit? From your presence where can I flee? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I sink to the nether world, you are present there.

If I take the wings of the dawn, if I settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall guide me, and your right hand hold me fast.
Versicle before the Gospel (Phil 2:15d.16a): Alleluia. Shine like lights in the world, as you hold on to the word of life. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Lk 17:1-6): Jesus said to his disciples, “Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the one through whom they occur. It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.

Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he wrongs you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times saying, ‘I am sorry,’ you should forgive him.”

And the Apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” The Lord replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”

“And if he wrongs you seven times in one day… you should forgive him”

Fr. Pedro-José YNARAJA i Díaz (El Montanyà, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, the Gospel speaks of three important topics. First, our behavior with children. If on other occasions childhood has been praised, on this one we are warned of the evil we can cause them.

To scandalize is not to make lots of noise, as sometimes we understand it; the Greek word which the evangelist uses is “skandalon”, meaning something which makes you stumble upon or slip, like a stone or a banana peel, to say it more clearly. We must highly respect infants, and woe to the one who brings them to sin, in any way! (cf. Lk 17:1). Jesus anticipates the great punishment that waits for him and He does it with very vivid images. In the Holy Land we can still find some very old millstones; they are great round stones with a hole in the midst (they may also remind us, on a larger scale, of the cervical collars we wear when suffering a trauma). Putting the stone around the scandalous one's neck and throwing him into the sea expresses a most terrible punishment. Jesus uses an almost dark humor language example here. Woe to us if we cause one of these little ones to fall! And there are many ways to cause them to sin: to lie, to be ambitious, to be unjustly triumphant. To devote oneself to tasks that will satisfy their vanity...

Secondly, forgiveness. Jesus asks us to forgive, as many times as needed, even in the same day, if the other is sorry, even if our soul resents it: “Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.” (Lk 17:3). Our capacity to forgive is the measuring stick of our charity.

Lastly, faith: more than mind wealth (in a strictly human meaning), is a “mood”, the outcome of God's experience, is to be able to act by leaning on his confidence. St. Ignatius of Antioch says: “Faith is the beginning of true life”. Who acts with faith may attain true wonders; this is how the Lord expresses it when He says: “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” (Lk 17:6).

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “To practice fraternal correction — which is so deeply rooted in the Gospel — is a proof of supernatural trust and affection. Be thankful for it when you receive it, and don’t neglect to practice it with those around you.” (Saint Josemaria)

  • “Faith trusting in Christ, welcoming him, letting him transform us, following him to the very end makes humanly impossible things possible in every situation.” (Benedict XVI)

  • “Anyone who uses the power at his disposal in such a way that it leads others to do wrong becomes guilty of scandal and responsible for the evil that he has directly or indirectly encouraged. ‘Temptations to sin are sure to come; but woe to him by whom they come!’” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2287)