Saying ‘yes’ to God means giving up one’s own thoughts and accepting his. He does not look for the satiated, but those who are hungry to fill them with his possessions (Lk 1:53). He does not appreciate the powerful who sit on thrones but lowers himself to raise the lowly (Lk 1:52). He does not reward the righteous for their own merits, but makes himself the companion of the weak and introduces the tax collectors and prostitutes first in the kingdom.
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A certain spirituality has instilled in Christians 'the religion of merit,' which is equal to the religion of the Pharisees. It has been taught that we must do good because in this way we accumulate merit in Paradise. But this is not love, this is selfishness, it is thinking about ourselves. It is one of the conditions that Jesus sets for those who want to follow him: forget about yourself, think only on giving joy to your brother.
We forgive ourselves with difficulty: we torment ourselves with remorse. We do not accept the humiliation of a weakness. We drag our fault behind as an unexploded, dangerously untriggered bomb. Only one who has a peaceful relationship with oneself is able to recognize one’s own mistake. He knows that a positive recovery from a bitter experience of sin is possible.
The community that boasts of its “heroes” and feels an unacknowledged rejection of sinners, considersthem ballast, dry branches, a “disgrace” for the whole family. It shows to have assimilated the criteria of this world, not those of God who is in love with the last and those who do not count. He declared his love to themost insignificant of the people, Israel, thus: “You are precious in my sight, and important—for I have loved you” (Is 43:4).
Deny yourself means you stop thinking about yourself. It is the reversal of the principles in this world governing relations between people. It is the rejection of those that all believe to be positive stimuli because they push to action: the pursuit of one’s own interest, the will to achieve gratification, acknowledgments, and benefits. Even in the purest acts of love, there is often some veiled forms of selfishness and ambition.
In conclusion, we can say that, from today’s Gospel, as in many other texts of the New Testament (Mt 10:2; Lk 22:32; Jn 21:15-17), it is clear that Peter is entrusted with a particular task in the Church. He always appears first, is called to feed the lambs and the sheep and must sustain his brothers in the faith.
The message is as timely as ever. The Church is called to be a sign that all discriminations related togender, membership to a race, to a people or to an institution are ended. Paul declares: “In Christ Jesus, all of you are sons and daughters of God through faith. All of you who were given to Christ through baptism, have put on Christ. Here there is no longer any difference between Jew or Greek, or between slave or freed, or between man and woman; but all of you are one in Christ Jesus.
In Mary we have contemplated our destiny: The definitive life that awaits us in the world of God. And this feast of today with friends, with banquet, will have a different flavor and glory if we have this second look that allows us to see in Mary our destiny.
As long as he keeps his eyes fixed on the Master, he is able to go to him. When his faith diminishes, when he begins to doubt the choice he made, he sinks and is afraid of being overwhelmed, of losing his life. It is the description of our condition. “Come to me now—the Risen Lord repeats to every disciple. Do not be afraid of losing your life.
“The Lord gives justice to the oppressed and food to the hungry” (Ps 146:7), are the words with which thepious Israelite professes his faith in providence. This is echoed by Mary in her song of praise: “He has filled the hungry with good things” (Lk 1:53). But how can these statements be true if a quarter of humanity live in conditions of absolute poverty, where every day tens of thousands of children die of hunger, if millions of people scramble the garbage looking for food? Has God who clothes the lilies of the field and feeds the birds of the sky perhaps forgotten his children?
We are thus introduced in the parable: the treasure which Jesus speaks about is the kingdom of heaven, the new condition where one who welcomes the proposals of the Beatitudes enters. It has an incalculable value and is only gradually discovered by one who decided to wager his own life on it. The fact that this treasure is found by chance indicates its gratuity. God offers it freely to people. It is not a prize for their good works.
The owner does not lose control; he keeps calm. In this world, good and evil are not separated. They are destined to grow together until the end. Why can’t the times be speeded up? If God is almighty why does he not immediately eliminate every trace of evil?
With this parable, he wanted to send a message to his discouraged disciples who asked him about the usefulness of the apostolic work he was doing. Despite all the contradictions and obstacles, his word would have given abundant fruit because it has in itself an irresistible force of life.
The solemn exclamation with which today’s Gospel begins is one of the few prayers of Jesus reported in the Gospels: “Father, Lord of heaven and earth, I praise you because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to simple people” (v. 25). The wise and the intelligent are often mentioned together in the Bible and, many times, in a pejorative sense. They are those who profess themselves as devout researchers of wisdom. They even think of having a monopoly on it. In fact, they rack with folly and revel with vain discussions.
From today's Gospel passage, as in many other texts of the New Testament (Mt 10:2; Lk 22:32, Jn 21:15-17), it is clear that Peter is entrusted with a particular task in the church. It is he who always appears first, is called to feed the lambs and the sheep and sustains his brothers and sisters in the faith.
The second of the five discourses of Jesus found in the Gospel of Matthew develops the themes related to sending of the disciples to a mission. Today we are offered the concluding passage. In the first part (vv. 37-39), the demands of discipleship are presented in all their harshness. Radical and unprecedented renouncements are required.
Today we celebrate the feast of the birth of John the Baptist, June 24, the solstice, when the sun begins to diminish and this is the reason why, since the time of St. Augustine (we are at the end of the fourth century and the beginning of the fifth century), the feast of the Baptist is celebrated. Precisely because he himself had said: Now I must stay to one side because another light has appeared.
I am sure each one of you knows that this pandemic experience is going to have a major effect on your future. It’s going to leave a deep imprint on everything, on human lives, on communities, on society, politics, our sense of our place in nature, even our faith.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus insists, three times: “Do not be afraid!” (vv. 26, 28, 31) and each time, he adds a motive to justify his recommendation. The announcer of the Gospel is afraid, first of all, because of the violence unleashed by the enemies of Christ, his mission might fail (vv. 26-27). Jesus assures him that despite the trials and hardships, the Gospel will spread and transform the world.