Unlike the Jewish moral, the Christian proposes an unattainable goal: the perfection of the Father who is in heaven (Mt 5:48). On the road to life, the accurate and detailed signpost of the Torah, with its well-defined commandments, remains behind. In front, it opens up the endless horizon of the perfection of the Father and the way toward him is to be invented.
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The Torah revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai, however, was not the final Word of God. On the Mount of the Beatitudes, Jesus has recognized its validity, but, considering only one phase, he indicated a new goal, a more distant and boundless horizon: the perfection of the Father who is in heaven.
A wonderful parable of Jesus (Mt 25:31-46) reveals how God’s way of evaluating is different from ours. Instead of paying attention to religious practices, loyalty to the traditions, the scrupulous observance of rites, God is interested in concrete adhesion to his plan of love for people.
The feast of the Presentation of the Lord has very ancient origins. It was already celebrated in the East in the fourth century with the name of the Feast of Encounter: it recalled the encounter of Jesus in the temple with his Father and with Simeon and Anna—representatives of the rest of Israel who remained faithful to the God of Abraham.
Today’s Gospel is made up of three parts. First of all, with a quotation from the prophet Isaiah, Jesus’ activity in Galilee is introduced (vv. 12-17). Then there is the vocation story of the first four disciples (vv. 18-22). Finally, the activity of Jesus is summed up in one sentence (v. 23). After the conclusion of John the Baptist’s mission, Jesus moved from Nazareth to Capernaum. It became the center of his activities for nearly three years.
God calls a people and prefers them among all the peoples of the earth (Dt 10:14-15). He calls Abraham, Moses, the prophets and gives them a mission to bring to fruition, a plan of salvation to be realized. He also calls the stars of the firmament by name and they respond: Here we are!
The biblical sites are often tied to a theological significance. The sea, the mountain, the desert, the Galilee of the Gentiles, Samaria, the Jordan River, the land beyond the Lake of Genezareth are much more than simple geographical indications (often not entirely accurate).
The dream of God came true when a star appears in Israel, Christ the Lord, as the Lord has promised (Num 24:17). His light drives away the darkness created by ancestral hates and convokes all the people in one family. This is the message of hope of the Epiphany, the feast of light.
May the Lord bless and protect you.May the Lord shine his face upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord direct his gaze on you and give you peace.
What made the family of Mary and Joseph holy? Even in the midst of life’s struggles, they remained faithful to God and to each other. Do I expect God to remove all the struggles of everyday life just because I have remained faithful to him? Pray for broken families in our midst. Pray that our families may become holy and blessed. Pray for the values of love, deep respect, mutual submission, obedience, compassion, forgiveness, and centeredness on God to reign supreme in our families.
The darkness covered the abyss, when “God said, ‘Let there be light’” (Gen 1:2-3). Light is the first word that God speaks in the Bible. celebrate the Christmas liturgy during the night to reproduce, perhaps meaningfully, the darkness won by the word of the Creator, the darkness of the human condition illumined by the coming of the Savior.
The son of the virgin Mary has a double name, one used by his contemporaries—Jesus, the one who frees from sin—and the one Matthew, the Evangelist gives him: Emmanuel, God with us.
The Mary of the Gospel is very close to us: a girl born in the mountains of Lower Galilee, in love with the young Joseph with whom she designed a family according to the tradition of her people. Then she is a mother, woman of faith, who each day had to confront difficulties and temptations similar to ours. She is not an exception but a particular person in whom God has found the full availability to realize his plan of salvation.
In today’s Gospel Matthew describes John the Baptist as an austere man (v. 4). His food was simple like that of the inhabitants of the desert. His dress was rough, a leather belt around his waist that distinguished Elijah (2 Kg 1:8), and a fur cloak—a uniform of the prophets (Zec 13:4). The whole person of John the Baptist was a condemnation and denunciation of the opulent society—then as now.
To keep watch means being able to discern, to be able to grasp this judgment that comes on time, although in the most unexpected ways and times.“Make me follow, O Lord, your judgments”
Jesus begins to travel through towns and villages announcing everywhere: The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is imminent (Mk 1:15). At times he says: The kingdom of God is already in your midst (Lk 17:21). The kingdom is the center of the preaching of Jesus: in fact, the New Testament mentions the theme of the kingdom of God 122 times and Jesus says it as many as 90 times himself.
Using apocalyptic language and images, Jesus wants to remove the veil that prevents us from seeing the world through the eyes of God. When he seems to announce the end of the cosmos, he is not referring to the end of the world, but helping us to understand the end of the world. Apocalypse does not mean catastrophe, but revelation, unveiling.
Men of all ages have been confronted with the distressing enigma of death and have tried in every way to overcome or at least to exorcise it. God gave an answer to these questions: “The Christian hope—said Tertullian, the famous father of the Church of the second century—is the resurrection of the dead; all that we are, we are because we believe in the resurrection.”
The passage starts presenting the Master who enters Jericho and crosses the city accompanied by the crowd and the disciples (v. 1). At the entrance of the city, he has just cured a blind man who begged him: “Lord, that I may see” (Lk 18:35-43). The combination of these two facts is not random. The healing of the blind man and the “recovery” of Zacchaeus reflect and illuminate each other.