ü It makes us realize that the life of faith, of fidelity to God and of following of Jesus is not something I have once and for all, but I have to work on it all my life long.
ü It is not something that I know intellectually without transforming it into action.
ü I think that these readings are an invitation to be always ready.
FIRST READING Ez 15:25-28
o God confronts his people that complains against the Lord saying that the Lord’s ways are not fair.
o Last Sunday the readings challenged us to think about what is fair or just
o Here God asks his people and invites them to give their own answer, who is in the way of salvation?
o This question is also for us.
o To have been born in a family who practices the faith, in a nation where we can freely practice our faith, it is not something that was due to me, it is a free gift from the unconditional love of God. It is not something I inherit but something I have to work on.
o But there are other human beings who have lived in the midst of violence, without knowing God, without freedom but who follow the inner law that the Lord has put in each one of us.
o Who is in communion with God?
o This coming Sunday the readings invite us to think seriously how do we look at the others, how do we live our faith, our relationship with God.
o We are invited to realize that salvation, the relationship with God is not a question of knowledge, good reflections and wonderful words, but of good actions, of a behavior who imitates God.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM PS 25: 4-5. 6-7. 8-9
REMEMBER YOUR MERCIES LORD
Your ways, O Lord, make known to me
Teach me your paths
Guide me in your truth and teach me
For you are God my savior.
Remember that your compassion, O Lord
And your love are from of old
The sins of y youth and my frailties remember not
In your kindness remember me
Because of your goodness O Lord.
Good and upright is the Lord
Thus he shows sinners the way
He guides the humble to justice
And teaches the humble his way.
This is a psalm of supplication and of trust.
It is an alphabetical psalm, because there is one of the characters of the alphabet at the beginning of each line. They were written in this fashion for teachers, to help them to teach their students
We discover in this psalm several wisdom themes: the way, the teaching, the human teacher which gives way to the divine teacher who shows the way… covenant themes: on the part of God as faithfulness, on the part of the human being as respect, reverence, hope.
This psalm written for the school to teach in an academic environment helps us to live our life of love for God.
GOSPEL Mt 21:28-32
Ø Apparently it is a very simple parable, if we are not aware of its real message we look at it as if it was a story for children.
Ø But is that so?
Ø This parable is not addressed to children but to the religious leaders of the people of Israel, to the high priests and escribes who think that they know more than the rest, they consider themselves better than the others, they have the monopoly of Israel’s religion.
Ø When we read this parable we understand immediately the message, but do we realize that it is said also for us?
Ø Matthew told this parable for the members of his community, and thus it is also for us, especially those of us who are in some kind of leadership within the church
Ø The conclusion that Jesus says is surprising: the prostitutes and tax collectors…
Ø Jesus likes to mention these persons considered impure, and he has enough freedom to do it, and in this way to challenge us.
Ø Also in our church we have differences of classes, divisions, like there were in Israel
o The pure, those who know and teach all the laws and requirements to be holy, and look at those considered “sinners” as separated, marginalized not fitted to be with the pure.
o The other group is formed by those who are marginalized: the homeless, those with aids, the homosexual, the prostitutes …
Ø Jesus says that they will be first, like the son that said no and goes, because on listening to the work of John they changed their ways. They did the father’s will like the son that said no and finally did it.
Ø Are we not scandalized by this words of Jesus? Are we not indignant on hearing them? If this is not so it is because we read this parable without paying attention to its real content.
Ø The Gospel is full of examples of people who were marginalized, considered sinners , people that said no to God and later on changed and said yes: Zacchaeus, the sinful woman, the Samaritan, the centurion, the Samaritan woman…
Ø What a simple parable, yes, but full of questions for all of us!
Ø I copy here something I have read in a book by Jose Antonio Pagola:
When we do not want to be with you, God makes himself near and welcomes you
In the darkest spot of you night you are not alone
In your deepest humiliation you are not abandoned
There is no place for you either in our society or in our heart
But you have a especial place in the heart of God
Ø Again we are faced with the paradox of God’s unconditional and free love. Love that we want to master according to our mind, but we cannot, his love is totally free.
Ø What is just, fair for God? That was last week’s question
Ø Today’s parable is another way to explain what does it mean: the last will be first and the first will be last.
Ø To which one of the two groups do I belong? In reality we all belong to the group of the sinners, if we accept this we will be able to understand this parable, and also the ways of God and we will be thankful.
SECOND READING Phil 2:1-5
Ø Paul asks his community of Philippi to be of the same mind
Ø Not having divisions among them
Ø To do nothing out of selfishness
Ø But being humble regarding others as more important than themselves.
Ø What a program! That Paul gives to his community, to all of us, to our communities.
Ø To live considering and really believing that the others are more important than we are
Ø How many difficulties would disappear from our communities, how different they would be, how different would our society be, how much peace and joy in our human relationships there would be.
At last, “Rosalia” was restored, and we left this port of Lanzarote where we had received so many graces of God. They fixed the holy cross made of the blessed palms in the main mast together with a miraculous medal because it was by miracle that we arrived to that island, and we hoped to reach our desired destination. So we left that port, the ones who left happier that the ones left behind since all of them cried as if they lost a great treasure.
The memory of the dangers from which God had delivered us manifested more and more my hope in God. This hope that the Lord has placed in my heart from my childhood has delivered me from so many dangers. My hope in God made me so happy that, when I lost sight of the Canarias islands, my heart rejoiced, because not seeing earth anymore, I was left only with my hope in God.
Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters 157-58.
The havoc wrought by the Cuban earthquakes was truly dreadful. The people were terrified, and my vicar general sent for me to come to Santiago as I was needed there. I left the mission at Bayamo and went to Santiago, where I was appalled at the sight of the ruins; one could hardly move through the streets, for all the wreckage and debris. The cathedral was a total disaster. To give some idea of the power of the tremors that hit that great church, I will describe just one detail. At the ends of the cathedral's facade there were two matching towers, each of which had four corners topped by macelike finials. One of these finials was dislodged and thrown through one of the bell tower windows. Imagine the arc that finial had to describe to break through one of those windows. The episcopal palace was a wreck, and so were all the other churches, more or less. Public squares were converted into chapels where Mass was said, the sacraments distributed, and sermons preached. Nearly all the houses in town were in a state of greater or lesser disrepair. Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 529.
CLARET, Antonio María Claret, Autobiografía.
PAGOLA, José A. El camino abierto por Jesús. PPC 2012
PARIS, María Antonia, Autobiografía
STOCK, Klemens. La Liturgia de la Palabra. Ciclo A (Mateo) 2007
LA BIBLIA, traducción tomada de la página web del Vaticano.
LA BIBLIA DE NUESTRO PUEBLO, Luis Alonso Schökel.
SAGRADA BIBLIA. Versión oficial de la Conferencia Episcopal Española.