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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Wednesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading (1Kgs 18:20-39): Ahab sent to all the children of Israel and had the prophets assemble on Mount Carmel. Elijah appealed to all the people and said, «How long will you straddle the issue? If the Lord is God, follow him; if Baal, follow him». The people, however, did not answer him. So Elijah said to the people, «I am the only surviving prophet of the Lord, and there are four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal. Give us two young bulls. Let them choose one, cut it into pieces, and place it on the wood, but start no fire. I shall prepare the other and place it on the wood, but shall start no fire. You shall call on your gods, and I will call on the Lord. The God who answers with fire is God». All the people answered, «Agreed!».

Elijah then said to the prophets of Baal, «Choose one young bull and prepare it first, for there are more of you. Call upon your gods, but do not start the fire». Taking the young bull that was turned over to them, they prepared it and called on Baal from morning to noon, saying, «Answer us, Baal!». But there was no sound, and no one answering. And they hopped around the altar they had prepared. When it was noon, Elijah taunted them: «Call louder, for he is a god and may be meditating, or may have retired, or may be on a journey. Perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened». They called out louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until blood gushed over them. Noon passed and they remained in a prophetic state until the time for offering sacrifice. But there was not a sound; no one answered, and no one was listening.

Then Elijah said to all the people, «Come here to me». When the people had done so, he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been destroyed. He took twelve stones, for the number of tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the Lord had said, «Your name shall be Israel». He built an altar in honor of the Lord with the stones, and made a trench around the altar large enough for two measures of grain. When he had arranged the wood, he cut up the young bull and laid it on the wood. «Fill four jars with water», he said, «and pour it over the burnt offering and over the wood». «Do it again», he said, and they did it again. «Do it a third time», he said, and they did it a third time. The water flowed around the altar, and the trench was filled with the water.
Responsorial Psalm: 15
R/. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge; I say to the Lord, «My Lord are you».

They multiply their sorrows who court other gods. Blood libations to them I will not pour out, nor will I take their names upon my lips.

O Lord, my allotted portion and cup, you it is who hold fast my lot. I set the Lord ever before me; with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.

You will show me the path to life, fullness of joys in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever.
Versicle before the Gospel (Ps 24:4-5): Alleluia. Teach me your paths, my God, and guide me in your truth. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mt 5:17-19): Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”

“I have come not to abolish but to fulfill”

Fr. Miquel MASATS i Roca (Girona, Spain)

Today, we listen to the Lord saying: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets… but to fulfill” (Mt 5:17). In today's Gospel, Jesus teaches us that the Old Testament is part of the Divine Revelation: First, God made himself known to men through the prophets. The chosen People gathered on Saturdays in the synagogue to listen to God's Word. And just as a good Jew knew the Scriptures and put them into practice, we Christians should frequently meditate —if possible, every day— upon the Scriptures.

In Jesus we have the plenitude of Revelation. He is the Verb, God's Word, that became flesh, and made his dwelling among us (cf. Jn 1:14) to let us know He is God and how He loves us. God wants of man a response of love, expressed upon the fulfillment of his teachings: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (Jn 14:15).

We can find a good explanation of today's Gospel in St. John's first letter: “For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome” (1Jn 5:3). To keep God's commandments means that we truly love him through our deeds. Love is not only a feeling; love also wants deeds, deeds of love, to live the double precept of charity.

Jesus teaches us the malice of scandal: “Whoever breaks the least important of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be the least in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:19). Because —as St. John says— “Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1Jn 2,4).

At the same time, He shows us how important good example is: “But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:19). Good example is the first element of the Christian Apostolate.

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “The sweetest commandments become bitter when they are imposed by a tyrannical and cruel heart; and they become most amiable when ordained by love.” (Saint Francis de Sales)

  • “The law is wisdom. Wisdom is the art of being human, the art of being able to live well and of being able to die well. And one can live and die well only when the truth has been received and shows us the way.” (Benedict XVI)

  • “The perfect fulfillment of the Law could be the work of none but the divine legislator, born subject to the Law in the person of the Son (Cf. Gal 4:4). In Jesus, the Law no longer appears engraved on tables of stone but ‘upon the heart’ (Jr 31:33) (…)” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Nº 580)