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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Tuesday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Titus 2:1-8.11-14): Beloved: You must say what is consistent with sound doctrine, namely, that older men should be temperate, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, love, and endurance. Similarly, older women should be reverent in their behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to drink, teaching what is good, so that they may train younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, chaste, good homemakers, under the control of their husbands, so that the word of God may not be discredited. Urge the younger men, similarly, to control themselves, showing yourself as a model of good deeds in every respect, with integrity in your teaching, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be criticized, so that the opponent will be put to shame without anything bad to say about us.

For the grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age, as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of the great God and of our savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for himself a people as his own, eager to do what is good.
Responsorial Psalm: 36
R/. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Trust in the Lord and do good, that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security. Take delight in the Lord, and he will grant you your heart's requests.

The Lord watches over the lives of the wholehearted; their inheritance lasts forever. By the Lord are the steps of a man made firm, and he approves his way.

Turn from evil and do good, that you may abide forever; the just shall possess the land and dwell in it forever.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 14:23): Alleluia. Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Lk 17:7-10): Jesus said to the Apostles: “Who among you would say to your servant who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’? Would he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat. Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink. You may eat and drink when I am finished’? Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded? So should it be with you. When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.’”

“We have done what we were obliged to do.”

Fr. Jaume AYMAR i Ragolta (Badalona, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, the Gospel message is not based on the master's attitude, but on the servant's. Jesus, with a parable, invites His apostles to consider the stance of service: the servant should fulfill his duties without expecting any reward: “Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded?” (Lk 17:9). However, this is not the Master's last lesson on service. Later on, Jesus will tell His disciples: “I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father” (Jn 15:15). Friends do not have to render accounts to each other. If servants are to fulfill their duties, we, His apostles, who are Jesus' friends, must, even more so, accomplish the mission God has entrusted us with, while realizing our work does not deserve any recompense, for we do it joyously and, because whatever we have, whatever we are, is a gift we have received from God.

For those who believe, everything is a sign, for those who love, everything is a gift. Working for God's Kingdom is already a great reward; hence, the expression “We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do” (Lk 17:10) should not be interpreted with dejection or sadness, but with the joy of one who knows that he has been called to spread the knowledge of the Gospel.

These days we also keep in mind the feast of a great saint, a great friend of Jesus, and very popular in the territory of Catalonia, St. Martin of Tours, who devoted all his life to the service of the Gospel of Christ. Sulpicius Severus writes of him: “Extraordinary man, whom neither toil and suffering, nor the fact of death could bend his resolve; he did not lean toward either side, he was not afraid of dying, but he did not refuse to live! Eyes and hands towards Heaven, his undefeated spirit kept on praying.” In our prayers, in our dialogue with our Friend, that is where the secret and the strength of our service lie.

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • "Let us recognize the grace but not forget our nature. Don’t make much of it if you have done your duties well since you have done what you ought to do. The sun fulfils its role, the moon obeys, the angels carry out their duties" (Saint Ambrose)

  • "If we do God's will today with humility, without claiming anything from him, it will be Jesus himself who serves us, who helps us, who encourages us, who gives us strength and serenity." (Benedict XVI)

  • "The more one does what is good, the freer one becomes. There is no true freedom except in the service of what is good and just. the choice to disobey and do evil is an abuse of freedom and leads to "the slavery of sin." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1733)