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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Friday of the Second Week of Advent

1st Reading (Isa 48:17-19): Thus says the Lord, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I, the Lord, your God, teach you what is for your good, and lead you on the way you should go. If you would hearken to my commandments, your prosperity would be like a river, and your vindication like the waves of the sea; your descendants would be like the sand, and those born of your stock like its grains, their name never cut off or blotted out from my presence.
Responsorial Psalm: 1
R/. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
Blessed the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked nor walks in the way of sinners, nor sits in the company of the insolent, but delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on his law day and night.

He is like a tree planted near running water, that yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves never fade. Whatever he does, prospers.

Not so the wicked, not so; they are like chaff which the wind drives away. For the Lord watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked vanishes.
Versicle before the Gospel (---): Alleluia. The Lord will come; go out to meet him! He is the prince of peace. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mt 11:16-19): Jesus spoke to the crowds: “To what shall I compare this generation? It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance, we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is vindicated by her works.”

“To what shall I compare this generation?”

Fr. Antoni CAROL i Hostench (Sant Cugat del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, we should be distraught before the Lord’s sigh: “To what shall I compare this generation?” (Mt 11:16). Jesus is overwhelmed by our heart, more often than not, nonconforming and ungrateful. We are never fulfilled; we are complaining all the time. We even dare to blame Him for all the things that disturb us.

“But wisdom is vindicated by her works.” (Mt 11:19): it suffices to just look at the Christmas mystery. But, what about us? How is our faith? Could it be that our complaints are actually harboring the nonexistence of our reply? A very appropriate query for the time of Advent!

God comes to our encounter, but man —especially the present-day man— hides out from Him. Some, as Herod, are really afraid of Him. Others are even harassed by his simple presence: “Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!” (Jn 19:15). Jesus “is the God-who-comes” (Benedict XVI) and we look like "the-man-who-goes away": “He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him” (Jn 1:11).

Why do we run away? Because of our lack of meekness. Saint John the Baptist recommended us to "dwindle". And the Church reminds us so, every time the Advent comes. We must, therefore, become as little children to be able to understand and receive the "Little God". He appears in front of us with the humility of his swaddling-clothes: never before a “God-wrapped-in-swaddling clothes” had been preached! We project a ridiculous image before God when we try to conceal ourselves with pretexts and dishonest explanations. Already at the dawn of humanity, Adam blamed Eve; Eve blamed the snake..., after all the centuries gone by, we remain just the same.

Jesus-God, however, is coming: in the cold and the poverty of Bethlehem he neither admonished nor rebuked us. On the contrary! He begins to load his small shoulders with the weight of all our faults. Should we, then, be afraid of Him? Will our apologies be truly of worth before this "Little-God"? “God’s sign is the Baby: we learn to live with him and to practice with him that humility of renunciation that belongs to the very essence of love” (Benedict XVI).

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “Therefore, God, seeing the world falling into ruin because of fear, continuously acts to recall it with love, invite it back by grace, hold it tight in charity, and embrace it with affection.” (St. Peter Chrysologus)

  • “God offers to humanity, which no longer has time for him, further time, in order to set out anew on a journey to rediscover the meaning of hope. God loves us and for this very reason expects that we return to him, that we open our hearts to his Love.” (Benedict XVI)

  • ““No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man” (Jn 3:13). Left to its own natural powers humanity does not have access to the `Father's house’ (Jn 14:2), to God's life and happiness. Only Christ can open to man such access.” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 661)

Other comments

“But wisdom is vindicated by her works.”

+ Fr. Pere GRAU i Andreu (Les Planes, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, let's stop to think about how often it is that we have to go to funerals. However... it's not very often that think about our own funeral. It is just like a subconscious strategy, which postpones our death sine die.

Just observing the rhythm of what surrounds us in nature reminds us of this fact. We deduce that —in a certain way— we are not that different from a plant, or any other living thing... We are bound by, whether we like it or not, the same natural law as all the other creatures surrounding us. With a very important difference: The origin of our life, a life in the image and likeness of God. Made for eternity.

Advent is infused with this idea. The Lord comes, in great splendor, and visits His people, with peace, talking of eternal life. It is a warning: “But wisdom is vindicated by her works.” (Mt 11:19). Let's have a receptive attitude to Lord!

“Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” (Mk 1:3), the Dominican II of Advent (cycle B) reads. Be careful how you behave socially! it seems to suggest today. It is as though it were saying: —Do not be an obstacle to God's loving communication.

It is necessary to smoothen out our character. It is necessary to reform our way of acting. We have to change all things that make our responsibility false: pride, ambition, revenge, unforgiving ness, etc. Those attitudes that make us gods in our world, which prevent us from seeing that we are not at all the owners of it. We are miniscule in the extensive history of Humanity.

John's disciples experienced the purification of their errors. We, Jesus' disciples, can live the insuperable experience of purification from all our sins, with the hope eternal life: another Christmas!

Let's renew our dialog with him. Let's say our prayer of hope and love, without paying attention to the noisy world that surrounds us.