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A team of 200 priests comment on daily Gospel

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Liturgical day: Friday 6th in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Jas 2:14-24.26): What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, «Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well», but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Indeed someone might say, «You have faith and I have works». Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.

You believe that God is one. You do well. Even the demons believe that and tremble. Do you want proof, you ignoramus, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by the works. Thus the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, and he was called the friend of God. See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.
Responsorial Psalm: 111
R/. Blessed the man who greatly delights in the Lord’s commands.
Blessed the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commands. His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth; the upright generation shall be blessed.

Wealth and riches shall be in his house; his generosity shall endure forever. Light shines through the darkness for the upright; he is gracious and merciful and just.

Well for the man who is gracious and lends, who conducts his affairs with justice; He shall never be moved; the just man shall be in everlasting remembrance.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 15:15): Alleluia. I call you my friends, says the Lord, for I have made known to you all that the Father has told me. Alleluia.

Gospel text (Mk 8,34-9,1): Jesus called the peo­ple and his disciples and said, «If you want to follow me, deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me. For if you choose to save your life, you will lose it; and if you lose your life for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel, you will save it. What good is it to gain the whole world but destroy your­self? There is nothing you can give to recover your life. I tell you: If anyone is ashamed of me and of my words among this adulterous and sinful people, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when he comes in the Glory of his Father with the holy angels». And He went on to say, «Truly I tell you, there are some here who will not die before they see the kingdom of God coming with power».

«If you want to follow me, deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me»

+ Fr. Joaquim FONT i Gassol
(Igualada, Barcelona, Spain)

Today’s Gospel speaks of two contemporary themes: the cross we all have to bear every day and its fruit, that is, Life with capital letters, supernatural and eternal.

When we listen to the Gospel we stand up as a sign we want to follow its teachings. Jesus tells us to deny ourselves, not to follow “the pleasure of our whims” —as the psalmist claims— or, as saint Paul cites, to get rid of “the deceiving greeds”. To take up our own cross is to accept the little mortifications we find every day along the way.

We can be helped out by what Jesus said in his priestly sermon at the cenacle: «I am the true vine, and my Father is the dresser. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful» (Jn 15:1-2). A hopeful gardener pampering the grapes so they bear the best wine! Yes, we want to follow our Lord! Yes, we are conscious the Father wishes to help us so our branches bear an abundant fruit in our earthly life which we can later enjoy in the Eternal Life.

Saint Ignatious used to guide saint Francis Xavier with the words of today's text: «What good is it to gain the whole world but destroy your­self?» (Mk 8:36). This is how he got appointed the patron of Missions. With the same idea in our minds, we can read the last canon of the Canon Law Code (n. 1752): «(...) and the salvation of souls, which must always be the supreme law in the Church, is to be kept before one's eyes». And saint Augustine also has his famous lesson: «Animam salvasti, animam tuam praedestinasti», which could be translated as: «He who dedicates himself with true zeal to the salvation of souls has thus good reasons to hope for eternal life». The invitation is quite clear.

The Virgin Mary, Mother of Divine Grace, helps us to advance in this way.