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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Tuesday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Sir 2:1-11): My son, when you come to serve the Lord, stand in justice and fear, prepare yourself for trials. Be sincere of heart and steadfast, incline your ear and receive the word of understanding, undisturbed in time of adversity. Wait on God, with patience, cling to him, forsake him not; thus will you be wise in all your ways. Accept whatever befalls you, when sorrowful, be steadfast, and in crushing misfortune be patient. For in fire gold and silver are tested, and worthy people in the crucible of humiliation.

Trust God and God will help you; trust in him, and he will direct your way; keep his fear and grow old therein. You who fear the Lord, wait for his mercy, turn not away lest you fall. You who fear the Lord, trust him, and your reward will not be lost. You who fear the Lord, hope for good things, for lasting joy and mercy. You who fear the Lord, love him, and your hearts will be enlightened. Study the generations long past and understand; has anyone hoped in the Lord and been disappointed? Has anyone persevered in his commandments and been forsaken? Has anyone called upon him and been rebuffed? Compassionate and merciful is the Lord; he forgives sins, he saves in time of trouble and he is a protector to all who seek him in truth.
Responsorial Psalm: 36
R/. Commit your life to the Lord, and he will help you.
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. They are not put to shame in an evil time; in days of famine they have plenty.

Turn from evil and do good, that you may abide forever; for the Lord loves what is right, and forsakes not his faithful ones.

The salvation of the just is from the Lord; he is their refuge in time of distress. And the Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.
Versicle before the Gospel (Gal 6:14): Alleluia. May I never boast except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mk 9:30-37): Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee, but he did not wish anyone to know about it. He was teaching his disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death he will rise.” But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him.

They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house, he began to ask them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they remained silent. They had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest. Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” Taking a child he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it he said to them, “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.

“The Son of Man is to be handed over to men”

Fr. Jordi PASCUAL i Bancells (Salt, Girona, Spain)

Today, the Gospel teaches us two lessons of Jesus that are closely linked together. On the one hand, He tells them that “and they will kill him, and three days after his death he will rise” (Mk 9:31). The Father's purpose for His coming to this world was precisely this: to set us free from sin's slavery and eternal death; thus, we shall become the sons of God. Jesus' greatest form of submission —His death on the cross— shows God's infinite love for humanity: a measureless Love, a Love that does not mind facing the madness and scandal of the Cross.

On the other hand, it is terrifying, to see the Apostles' reaction. They were just too busy thinking of themselves only and forgetting to learn from their Master: “But they did not understand the saying” (Mk 9:32), because they had been arguing on the way about who was the greatest, and they were afraid to ask Him anything, lest they could be scolded.

With delicate patience, Jesus adds: let him be last of all and servant of all. We have to look for the simple and small, because the Lord identified Himself with them. We have to receive Jesus in our life; thus, we shall be opening the doors to the very same God. It is like programming our life to keep on going.

This is how Saint John Vianney, the holy priest of Ars, explains it: “Each time we put the needs of others above our own, and provided this does not go against God's Law, we are achieving merits God only knows about.” Jesus teaches with these words, but mostly He teaches with His deeds. Those Apostles, who were initially supposed to understand Him but did not quite, will follow in the footsteps of their Lord and their God after the Cross and Resurrection. And, accompanied by the Holy Virgin Mary, they will become smaller and smaller every day to let Jesus grow in them and in the world.

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “Blessed may you be, my Lord Jesus Christ. You redeemed our souls with your precious blood and most holy death, and in your mercy you led them from exile back to eternal life.” (Saint Bridget)

  • “The ascent to God occurs precisely in the descent of humble service, in the descent of love.” (Benedict XVI)

  • “It is not easy for man, wounded by sin, to maintain moral balance. Christ's gift of salvation offers us the grace necessary to persevere in the pursuit of the virtues. Everyone should always ask for this grace of light and strength, frequent the sacraments, cooperate with the Holy Spirit, and follow his calls to love what is good and shun evil.” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 1811)