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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Monday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Hos 2:16.17b-18.21-22): Thus says the Lord: I will allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak to her heart. She shall respond there as in the days of her youth, when she came up from the land of Egypt. On that day, says the Lord, she shall call me “My husband,” and never again “My baal”. I will espouse you to me forever: I will espouse you in right and in justice, in love and in mercy; I will espouse you in fidelity, and you shall know the Lord.
Responsorial Psalm: 144
R/. The Lord is gracious and merciful.
Every day will I bless you, and I will praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord and highly to be praised; his greatness is unsearchable.

Generation after generation praises your works and proclaims your might. They speak of the splendor of your glorious majesty and tell of your wondrous works.

They discourse of the power of your terrible deeds and declare your greatness. They publish the fame of your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your justice.

The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness. The Lord is good to all and compassionate toward all his works.
Versicle before the Gospel (2Tim 1:10): Alleluia. Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mt 9:18-26): While Jesus was speaking, an official came forward, knelt down before him, and said, “My daughter has just died. But come, lay your hand on her, and she will live.” Jesus rose and followed him, and so did his disciples. A woman suffering hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the tassel on his cloak. She said to herself, “If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured.” Jesus turned around and saw her, and said, “Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you.” And from that hour the woman was cured. When Jesus arrived at the official’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd who were making a commotion, he said, “Go away! The girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they ridiculed him. When the crowd was put out, he came and took her by the hand, and the little girl arose. And news of this spread throughout all that land.

“Your faith has saved you”

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

Today, the liturgy of the Word invites us to admire two splendid manifestations of faith. So splendid were they that they deserved to move Jesus Christ's heart —immediately! provoking his reaction. Our Lord does not allow himself to be won over in generosity!

“My daughter has just died. But come, lay your hand on her, and she will live” (Mt 9:18). We could almost say that a strong faith as such can “oblige” God. But, He likes that kind of obligation. The other testimony of faith of today's Gospel is also equally impressive: “If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured” (Mt 9:21). Both Jesus' reaction and the end result of this dialogue of faith are quite radical: “Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you” (Mt 9:22).

We could even affirm that God gladly lets our good faith to “manipulate” him. What, instead, He does not admit is that we try to tempt him with our mistrust. This was the case with Zechariah, who asked evidence from Gabriel, the archangel: “Then Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this?” (Lk 1:18). The Archangel did not shrink an inch: “And the angel said to him in reply, ‘I am Gabriel, who stand before God... But now you will be speechless and unable to talk until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled at their proper time’” (Lk 1:19-20). And so it was.

It is He who wants to “oblige and commit himself” with our faith: “And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Lk 11:9). He is our Father and He does not want to refuse anything that is convenient for his children.

But we must entrust our petitions to him with confidence; confidence and naturalness with God require treatment: to trust somebody we must know him; and to know him we must treat him. Thus, “faith provokes prayer, and when prayer arises it makes faith strong” (St. Augustine). Let us not forget the praise the Virgin Mary deserved: “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled” (Lk 1:45).

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “Even if we are lying on the bed of our sins and our body, if Jesus touches us, we will be healed instantly.” (Saint Jerome)

  • “Jesus Christ came to defeat Evil at the root and instances of healing are an anticipation of his triumph, obtained with his death and Resurrection.” (Benedict XVI)

  • “‘Heal the sick!’ (Mt 10:8). The Church has received this charge from the Lord and strives to carry it out by taking care of the sick as well as by accompanying them with her prayer of intercession. She believes in the life-giving presence of Christ, the physician of souls and bodies (...)” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Nº 1509)