Incense, chants, endless prayers with which one tries to replace the concrete commitment in favor of the orphan, the widow, the oppressed are repugnant to God (Is 1:11-17). Jesus mentions several times the phrase of the prophet Hosea: “What I want is mercy, not sacrifice” (Mt 9:13; 12:7).
The purpose of the missioning: to prepare the city and the villages for the coming of the Lord. Jesus arrives after his messengers, not before. The task given to each apostle is not to represent himself, but to dispose the minds and hearts of the people to accept Christ in their lives.
Luke introduces the resolute decision of Jesus to go to Jerusalem, saying that he “sets his face hard.” It is a strong expression, taken from the Old Testament. The prophet Isaiah puts it on the lips of the Servant of the Lord who declares his determination to fulfill his mission: “Like a flint I set my face” (Is 50:7).
Jesus did not leave us a statue, a photograph, a relic. He wanted to continue to be present among his disciples as nourishment. The food is not placed on the table to be contemplated but to be consumed.
It is the fifth time that, in John’s the Gospel, Jesus promises to send the Spirit, and says it will be the Spirit to carry out the project of the Father. Without his work people could never be able to accept salvation.
Now Jesus promises another Paraclete, who has not the task of replacing him, but to accomplish his very own mission. The Spirit is the Paraclete because comes to the rescue of the disciples in their struggle against the world, that is, against the forces of evil (Jn 16:7-11).
The certainty of the Ascension reverses our human perspective. While the years pass, the Christian is satisfied because he sees the days of the definitive encounter with Christ coming soon. He is happy to have lived, does not envy the young ones but looks at them with tenderness.
A hasty reading of today’s Gospel can give the impression of finding ourselves facing a series of unrelated sentences and the problems of our lives. The passage, however, is not at all confusing or abstract; it is only very dense. Let’s put it in simple terms.
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another” (v. 35). We know that the fruits do not make the tree alive, however, they are signs that the tree is alive. Good works do not make our communities Christian, but these works give evidence that our communities are animated by the Spirit of the Risen One.
How to recognize among many voices, that of the true Shepherd? It is necessary to accustom the ear. He who hears a person only for five minutes and then for a year does not hear him anymore, will find it difficult to distinguish the other’s voice in the crowd.
John wants the Christians of his community to come to understand that Jesus, while being on the “shore,” that is, in the glory of the Father, is always beside them every day and continues to resonate his voice, calling, talking, and indicating what they should do.
How can we see him? Like the disciples: through his wounds. Gazing upon those wounds, the disciples understood the depth of his love. They understood that he had forgiven them, even though some had denied him and abandoned him. To enter into Jesus’ wounds is to contemplate the boundless love flowing from his heart.
We, like Peter and the women, cannot discover life by being sad, bereft of hope. Let us not stay imprisoned within ourselves, but let us break open our sealed tombs to the Lord – each of us knows what they are – so that he may enter and grant us life. Let us give him the stones of our rancour and the boulders of our past, those heavy burdens of our weaknesses and falls.
At the beginning of the Gospel of Luke, Jesus manifests himself to the shepherds: the last, despised people, the unclean of Israel. Then he spent his public life among tax collectors, sinners, prostitutes. At the end with those who die: not with the saints. Also at the end—it was to be expected—he is among those he most loved: the sinners.
This page of the Gospel today does not disturb less than yesterday. It does not leave tranquil those who continue to claim the right, from the unassailable fortress of their respectability, of hurling stones no longer with the hands, but defaming, isolating, uttering harsh judgments, fueling distrust, spreading gossips.
We must celebrate and rejoice—says the text (v. 24). They began only because every time one of the children goes out, the feast stops. It will be final and without end only when the door will be closed and all the children will be inside.
Unlike other evangelists who speak of a barren fig tree that is made almost instantly dry (Mk 11:12-24; Mt 21:18-22), Luke, the evangelist of mercy, introduces another year of waiting, before the definitive intervention. He presents a God who is patient, tolerant of human weakness, including the hardness of our mind and our heart.
Jesus listens to the Law and the Prophets who spoke to him about his death and Resurrection. In his intimate dialogue with the Father, he did not depart from history, he did not flee the mission for which he came into the world, although he knew that to attain glory he would have to pass through the Cross.
Luke above all speaks of every kind of temptation, therefore, the three frames he depicted had to be interpreted as a synthesis of all the temptations. They represent, in a schematic way, the wrong ways of dealing with three realities: with things, with people, with God.
Jesus wants that the Christian proposal is made with great humility, with great discretion and respect and, above all, never judging those who cannot understand it, those who do not feel like accepting it. The possibility of having a log in front of the eyes is not remote and must not be forgotten!
There are three categories of people: on the lowest rung are the wicked (those who, while still receiving the good, they do evil); higher are the righteous (those who respond to the good with good and evil with evil); finally there are those who respond to evil with good. Only they are the children of God.
The rabbis of Jesus’ time often used the literary form of beatitudes and curses. Jesus also directs his compliments (“blessed” means: Congratulations for the choice you have made). He addresses them to four categories of persons and warns against other opposite, dangerous choices because they are attractive and apparently gratifying.
Today’s readings present some characters who are called to carry out a mission of proclaiming the Word of God. They all have the same reaction: they feel unworthy, incapable, inadequate. Isaiah declares to be a man of unclean lips. Peter asks Jesus to turn away from him because he knows he is a sinner. Paul says that…
When reading the Gospel, we come across details that appear strange and improbable, there is reason to rejoice: they are valuable signs; they are an invitation to go beyond the mere matter of record and to seek the deeper meaning of the episode.
Three chapters separate the second part of today’s passage (Lk 4:14-21) from the first. It is the beginning of Jesus’ public life in his country, Galilee, and the narrated episode—which Matthew and Mark place around the middle of their Gospel—is for Luke the programmatic overture, the synthesis of all the activity of Jesus.
The Gospel of John is like a vast ocean: it can be contemplated on the surface or in depth. From the shore, the rippling waves, the unfolding of the sails, the reflections of light and color fascinate. But the most intense emotions are for those who have a chance to gear up and go down to the bottom, where the most unexpected and varied forms of life…
Today’s Gospel opens with a significant finding, “the people were in expectation.” It is easy to imagine what they are waiting for: the slave expected freedom, the poor a new condition of life, the exploited laborer hoped for justice, the sick healing, and the humiliated and raped woman the recovery of dignity.
The Magi thus personify all those who believe, those who long for God, who yearn for their home, their heavenly homeland. They reflect the image of all those who in their lives have not let their hearts be anesthetized.
The council taught us to look upon Mary as a “figure” of the Church, that is, as the Church’s perfect exemplar, as the first fruits of the Church. But can Mary be a model of the Church even as “Mother of God,” the title with which she is honored this day? Can we become mothers of Christ?
Faced with the often inexplicable and incomprehensible events there is only one correct attitude: “To keep all these things in our hearts,” as Mary did and ponder them in the light of the Word of God. It was not also easy for her to understand and accept the path to which God wanted his son to tread.
God is always among us as one who is young. St Augustine wrote that God is younger than all else. We have become older than our God. This means that God always retains that fresh vigour of youth, the vitality and playfulness of one who is always ready to begin anew.
Elizabeth feels enveloped in great astonishment — don’t forget this word, astonishment. Astonishment. To celebrate Christmas in a fruitful manner, we are called to pause in “places” of astonishment. And what are these places of astonishment in everyday life? There are three…
We feel that this question — “What shall we do?” — is ours also. Today’s liturgy tells us, in the words of John, that it is necessary to repent, to change direction and take the path of justice, solidarity, sobriety: these are the essential values of a fully human and genuinely Christian life.
The traditional prophets helped their contemporaries look beyond the wall of time and see into the future, but John helps the people to look past the wall of contrary appearances to make them see the Messiah hidden behind the semblance of a man like others.
Mary made her life beautiful. Not appearances, not what is fleeting, but the heart directed toward God makes life beautiful. Today let us look joyfully at her, full of grace. Let us ask her to help us to remain youthful, by saying ‘no’ to sin, and to live a beautiful life, by saying ‘yes’ to God.
With the First Sunday of Advent, a new liturgical year begins. The Gospel that will accompany us in the course of this year, Cycle C, is the Gospel of St. Luke. The Church takes the occasion to invite us to stop for a moment and reflect and ask ourselves some essential questions.
It has always proved difficult to hold these two prerogatives of Christ together — majesty and humility — deriving from his two natures, divine and human. The man of today has no problem seeing in Jesus the friend and brother of all, but he finds it hard to also proclaim him Lord and recognize Jesus’ royal power over him.
We must, I think, completely change the attitude with which we listen to these Gospels that speak of the end of the world and the return of Christ. We must no longer regard as a punishment and a veiled threat that which the Scriptures call “the blessed hope” of Christians, that is, the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We might call this Sunday the “Sunday of the widows.” The story of a widow was also told in the first reading, the widow of Zarephath who gave up all she had left to eat (a handful of flour and a drop of oil) to prepare a meal for the prophet Elijah.
Truly, loving God, more than a commandment, is a privilege, a concession. If one day we find him, we will not cease to thank God for commanding us to love him and we will not desire to do anything else but cultivate this love.
Bartimaeus is someone who does not miss an opportunity. He heard that Jesus was passing by, understood that it was the opportunity of his life and acted swiftly. The reaction of those present — “and many rebuked him, telling him to be silent” — makes evident the unadmitted pretension of the wealthy of all times.
After the Gospel on riches, this Sunday’s Gospel gives us Christ’s judgment on another of the great idols of the world: power… Our minds — the thoughts of the heart — can become a kind of throne on which we sit to dictate laws and thunder against those who do not submit to us
“Nothing is impossible for God,” says Scripture, and also: “Everything is possible for the one who believes.” But the world says: “Everything is possible for the one who has money.”
What is important is that one must understand that in this process of tears and repairs, of crises and surmounted obstacles, marriage is not exhausted, but is refined and improves. I perceive an analogy between the process that leads to a successful marriage and one that leads to holiness.
One of the apostles, John, saw demons cast out in the name of Jesus by one who did not belong to the circle of disciples and forbade him to do so. On recounting the incident to the master, he is heard to reply: “Do not forbid him … For he that is not against us is for us”
In service all benefit from the greatness of one. Whoever is great in service, is great and makes others great; rather than raising himself above others, he raises others with him. Alessandro Manzoni concludes his poetic evocation of Napoleon’s ventures with the question: “Was it true glory? In posterity the arduous sentence.”
Regrettably we must state that Peter’s error has been repeated in history. Also certain men of the Church, and even Successors of Peter, have behaved at certain times as if the Kingdom of God was of this world and should be affirmed with the victory (if necessary also with arms) over enemies
We are deaf when we shut ourselves in, out of pride, in an aloof and resentful silence, while perhaps with just one word of excuse or forgiveness we could return peace and serenity to the home.
The evangelists would not have retained these harsh words of the Master if he had not understood the perennial relevance of the risk of introducing into the Church this hypocritical worship and the danger of equating the law of God with the traditions of humans.
There’s something that Peter doesn’t forget: «You have the message of eternal life». He feels that Jesus’ words aren’t empty or deceitful words. Alongside of Jesus they have discovered life anew. His message has opened for them a life eternal. Where could they find better news of God?